In January 2017, the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, the Cattaraugus-Allegany Workforce Board, Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board, and the Niagara County Workforce Development Board (collectively known as the WNY Project Team) were awarded a $50,000 Western New York Regional Sector Partnership Grant to further career pathway training efforts.
The mission of the grant was to identify workforce strategies within the targeted industry sectors of Advanced Manufacturing and Tourism and to continue to build career pathway systems that connect and align all relevant public systems with private and non-profit partners.
For the last several years, the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, the Cattaraugus-Allegany Workforce Board, Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board, and the Niagara County Workforce Development Board have worked collaboratively to regionally align their workforce approach through regional planning. As part of these efforts the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, due to its relative scale within the region, pursued two sectoral-based strategies to support the manufacturing and hospitality and tourism sectors. This led to a regional interest in expanding and/or replicating the models piloted in Buffalo and Erie across the five-county region.
Through the grant, the WNY Project Team was awarded $50,000 in January 2017 and has committed to using the data collected and materials created as a foundation to continue the project. The overarching intent of the regional partnership is to:
- Leverage and align resources quickly and effectively to respond to the hiring needs of businesses with job seeking residents according to regional business demand.
- Develop strategic industry sector partnerships that can quickly assess the skills gaps in the workforce, develop appropriate training programs, and increase the supply of skilled workers for targeted sectors.
- Inform training and educational partners of the opportunities that exist in the region. Working together, these providers can target programs in elementary or secondary education, as well as vocational training and post-secondary education.
- Identify career pathways and stackable industry-recognized credentials for occupational advancement leading to self-sustaining wages.
Upgrade the skill set and credentials of incumbent workers for career advancement and backfill entry-level opportunities with new ready-to-work trained workers.