Buffalo Niagara Region Looks to National Best Practices to Inform Workforce Development Strategies

Dec012016

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Liz Callahan, Workforce Development Manager at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Liz Callahan, Workforce Development Manager at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Guest blog by Liz CallahanWorkforce Development Manager at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership

A “New Buffalo” is emerging, and civic optimism is riding high these days in western New York. In 2014, with a surge of new immigrants and many former residents returning to Buffalo, the city and region marked the reversal of a 50-year decline in population.

Looking to harness this momentum, regional leaders from business, philanthropy, government and education came together to form the Buffalo Niagara Regional Workforce Coalition. The Coalition is a multiyear, multisector collective effort whose goal is to build a better, more rational workforce development system that meets the needs of growing businesses, creates economic opportunity for all residents, and pushes forward the two-county region’s renaissance. In fact, the New York State Department of Labor projects 20,000 advanced manufacturing openings through 2020 due to retirements and growth. 

Accelerating the work of the Coalition was a goal of the Communities that Work Partnership (CTWP) team. This was accomplished by connecting the Buffalo team with the CTWP team from Houston, Texas. Based on the Upskill Houston best practice, the Coalition named the Buffalo Niagara Partnership the backbone organization and is moving forward on prototype work in manufacturing. Additionally, the coalition capitalized on best practices and expertise from the CTWP and the US Chamber of Commerce Talent Management Pipeline process to establish a vision, mission and framework.

While the Coalition’s goals are large and complex, the leaders believe using collective impact and following the Talent Management Pipeline process will lead to steady progress for the region. The Coalition would not be as far along, nor would we have the heightened awareness of the obstacles we need to overcome for systems change.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a privately-funded, economic development organization and the largest regional chamber of commerce in Western New York. We comprise some of the most established regional employers, representing a quarter of a million member employees. To learn more about the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, visit www.thepartnership.org/.

This blog is a part of a monthly series highlighting the contributions of the Commerce Department’s agencies to the Open for Business Agenda. This month’s focus is on Skills for Business.

 

This guest blog is a part of the CTWP series celebrating collaboration across seven U.S. communities.

 

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Last updated: 2016-12-09 11:02

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