News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
4/2/2018 Chamber News
Education Coalition Brings Organizations and People Together

The Chautauqua County Education Coalition brings together more than 60 organizations on a regular basis with a focus on aligning resources to enhance Chautauqua County’s learning system. The Coalition is where business, education, foundations, government and community organizations come together to work on improving educational and workforce results. The Coalition is bringing these organizations together because aligning the resources of our learning system is critical to building a workforce that meets the needs of employers, improves the tax base of the area, reduces poverty and reduces the number of children in poverty.

The complex nature of our workforce challenges requires us to think and act differently.  The Chautauqua County Education Coalition has brought new thinking and new partnerships that will enable our region to thrive in the future.  This past year the Coalition helped facilitate a curriculum review with regional manufacturers and Jamestown Community College on their Industrial Equipment Technology (IET) Certificate program.  Industrial maintenance is currently a high demand occupation in manufacturing and stakeholders of the coalition wanted to ensure that the training of the IET certificate offering at JCC was in alignment of the current skills needed in industry.   As a product of this project, a detailed curriculum crosswalk was completed.  This document helped with identifying the skills employers are looking for compared with what is being taught in the IET certificate program.  Through this process Jamestown Community College and regional employers were able to identify areas of improvement and opportunities to expand on program offerings.  Conversations of program expansions are still underdevelopment.

We were recently reminded of the importance of the Coalition work by County Executive George Borrello. At the Education Coalition’s March 27th meeting at Cassadaga Valley Central School, Borrello noted that he has visited nearly 100 businesses since coming to office and through those visits has identified 500 job openings. The County Executive’s findings reflect the data collected by the Manufacturers Association, which has identified the need for 280 skilled workers per year in the area to back-fill job openings due to retirement.

William Smock, Administrator Dunkirk City School District, said, “The Education Coalition made an immediate impact for the Dunkirk City School District. It provided a platform for collaboration that allowed us to create partnerships that benefit our students. From a work-to-school program with Cummins in 2015, to the successful implementation of the P-TECH College and Career Academy, we've been able to develop educational programs with local business support through the Coalition's efforts and support.”

Additional stakeholders are always invited to share in the process. We welcome participants from business, education, government, and community organizations that may be interested in working collaboratively on issues that affect our entire region. For more information, contact Education Coalition Director Justin Hanft at jhanft@educoalition.com.

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