Workforce & the Governor’s Budget
Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a challenging budget year with a projected $4.4 billion dollar deficit in 2018. As with all budget proposals there are components that are concerning to the business community and there are items included in the budget that we find encouraging. A core focus of our programming has been on workforce, as our members resoundingly are voicing that they are having challenges filling job openings. We do applaud the Governor for recognizing that we and employers across New York State are having this same challenge. The Governor through policy changes and through his budget is making an effort to help address the workforce challenge.
The data has proven that investments in early education are critical to building a workforce for the future. We are encouraged to see increased investments to expand pre-kindergarten instruction opportunities. Schools will also see a 3% increase in aid and high needs schools will see an increase in foundation aid. Our hope is that this funding will be accompanied with encouragement to our schools to innovate and adapt to a rapidly changing economy with that a rapidly changing skill set required to work in that economy. The Governor is proposing a $9 million increase in Pathways in Technology – Early College High School Program (P-TECH). This is more funding to expand programming like the successful P-TECH initiative in Dunkirk. This programming endorsed and supported by the business community. There is a $103 million increase in higher education spending proposed in the Governor’s budget. Again, we hope these investments encourage innovation toward more career focused programming that align with needs of the economy.
Notably, the Governor has proposed focusing $175 million on workforce development through the consolidated funding application program of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC). The REDC’s are composed of variety of stakeholders. The stakeholders include business leaders that have participated in building a strategic plan and have identified investment priorities for the region. The REDC participants review and recommend requests for funding from throughout the region, in our case the eight counties of Western New York. The process has been effective. Bringing resources targeted at workforce development into the successful REDC process is encouraging.
You will hear more from us on the New York state budget. We will be watching the budget process closely and encourage you to do so as well.
Ice Castle will highlight 31st Annual Winter Festival
For the first time in three years, an ice castle is under construction at Lakeside Park in Mayville and will be the centerpiece of the 31st Annual President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival. A dedicated crew of volunteers is cutting blocks of ice from Chautauqua Lake and stacking them to construct the castle. They have been working for the past week and making tremendous progress!
All are encouraged to participate in this great event, which offers fun for the whole family! Some of the activities will include a snowball throwing contest, snowman contest, horse drawn rides, crafts, a chili cook-off, fireworks, and a flare parade by the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club. In addition, the annual Polar Plunge is being organized by Family Health Medical Services and will benefit the food bank. Some activities will be held weather permitting. The Winter Festival Scavenger Hunt is taking place again this year at participating area businesses. For more information, contact the Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber office at 753-3113.
Major sponsors are Media One Group, town of Chautauqua, Douglas Crane Service LLC, Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals, village of Mayville, Northwest Bank, and Jeff Lang Enterprises. Platinum sponsors are 3 Seas Recreation, Lictus Oil and Propane, Uncle Jack’s Saw Shop, Lakeview Hotel/The Docks Restaurant, M & T Bank, Smith Boys of Chautauqua Lake and Webb’s Captain’s Table Restaurant/The Cottage Collection. Gold sponsors are Digitell Inc., Jamestown Awning, Webb’s Resort/Webb’s Candies, and Andriaccio’s Restaurant. Silver sponsors are Chautauqua Abstract Company, Portage Hill Gallery, “A” Automotive, Johnson’s Village Pharmacy, Lake Chautauqua Memorial VFW Post 8647, Ezra Weise, Andriaccio’s Restaurant, Irwin Bay Cottages, Hogan’s Hut, Empire Energy E&P, Mayville Auto Supply & Parts, Chautauqua Area Real Estate, Chautauqua Ironworks, North Shore Specialties Refinishing, Raymond Downey, and Guppy’s Tavern. We would also like to thank Chautauqua’s Gateway Graphics in Mayville for again updating the festival banner and for printing our festival posters this year and U S Steam Lines/Chautauqua Belle for their sponsorship as well.
Business After Hours at EBC West Feb. 22
The Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce invite you to attend an Experience Chautauqua Business After Hours networking event at EBC West, 34 W. Main St., Fredonia. This event will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22. You can enjoy appetizers and a cash bar. Bring a business card to be eligible for door prize drawings. The cost is just $13 for preregistered Chamber members or $15 for non-members or walk-ins at the door. To register, call the Chamber at 366-6200 or sign up online at www.chautauquachamber.org/events.
Chamber Congressional Lunch March 2
Mark your calendar now to attend the annual Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Federal Congressional Luncheon on March 2. This annual event will be held at Chautauqua Suites Meeting and Expo Center, 215 W. Lake Road, Mayville. We encourage Chamber members and the public to come with questions for Congressman Tom Reed during this event.
The Chamber’s Federal Congressional Luncheon is sponsored by: Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Fredonia College Foundation, Jamestown Mattress Company, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and UPMC Chautauqua WCA. Advanced registration is appreciated. To register, call the Chamber at 484-1101 or 366-6200 or visit our website at www.chautauquachamber.org/events.