Economic Development Highlighted to OC Chamber

NEW WINDSOR – The president of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation says the region continues to see economic growth since the recession turned around. He warned, though, that more work needs to be done, he told the Orange County Chamber of Commerce in New Windsor on Thursday.

HVEDC President Michael Oates highlighted the economic growth of the area since the recession, but pointed out that more work needs to be done for a particular population.

“There is a segment of the population here that is not doing as well and has an unacceptable rate of unemployment,” he said, “and that is our disabled community. When we talk about getting jobs for everybody, we mean everybody.”

Oates said that the Chamber is closely working with disability services agencies to connect to local businesses that may have a need for manufacturing and packaging.

This month’s Orange County Chamber Breakfast gave out awards to businesses and organizations dedicated to promoting healthy.

The Workplace Wellness initiative was brought over to Orange County by the HealthlinkNY Community Network last year after success was reported in Sullivan County.

Business owners and employees alike were invited to attend Workplace Wellness Coordinator Training sessions to learn how to promote a healthy working environment, and those who agreed to work with local health agencies to make this happen were awarded medals for their commitment.

The Orange County Chamber of Commerce did their part by forming a Health and Wellness Committee, which works with chamber members on the same cause.

“What this does is helps to promote healthy living and wellness in the business community,” said Chamber President Lynne Cione, “so that you as business owners can help your employees be healthy because that helps them as human beings and it helps the businesses with productivity.”

Amanda Langseder, director of community health at both Catskill and Orange Regional Medical Centers, described how easy it was to get the initiative off the ground in Orange County.
“People spend a lot of time at work,” she said. “What was clear from the very start is that Orange County was lush with resources and organizations ready to partner on this.”

Data suggests the need for a healthier work environment, as the obesity rates in Orange County are higher than in the rest of the Hudson Valley and heart disease is the number-one killer in the county.

“We can choose to say this is not our issue, or we can be actively engaged,” said Langseder. “There is a strong linkage between the health of a community’s population and the health of its economy.”

Langseder encouraged businesses that have not yet gotten on board to do so, as it “will improve your bottom line.”

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