Diverse Workforce Coalition Introduces Employ Buffalo Niagara
Buffalo Niagara Partnership facilitates new coalition of private and public interests for employer-led workforce development
BUFFALO, N.Y– The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and a coalition of employers, community leaders, educators and service providers introduce Employ Buffalo Niagara, a new initiative to strengthen the local job market through employer-led workforce development. Employ Buffalo Niagara was created to streamline workforce development efforts and give employers better access to a greater number of qualified, diverse job candidates in Western New York. At the same time, the initiative aims to connect job seekers with a growing number of career opportunities in the region.
“Employ Buffalo Niagara brings together key leaders in business and the community who are working together on a multi-year, multi-sector approach to grow the regional economy,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “The difference in this approach is that it is employer-led workforce development – a system driven by employer needs and better aligned with employer job opportunities.”
“This is a true coalition of coalitions,” said Michael Weiner, CEO of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. “Employ Buffalo Niagara is organized to maximize existing workforce infrastructure in the community and ensure that people are able to successfully secure and maintain jobs. The United Way will play a leadership role in organizing the service and training providers in the area and work closely with the Partnership in meeting employer needs.”
Employ Buffalo Niagara began when the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Board of Directors was seeking solutions to the difficulties area employers had filling jobs openings. A working group of Board Members and staff went on a 10-month listening tour interviewing a wide array of workforce development stakeholders in the region. That working group expanded into a coalition of partners from business, government, philanthropic and non-profit organizations to become Employ Buffalo Niagara.
Thanks to the coalition’s work, the U.S. Department of Commerce recognized the Buffalo Niagara region with one of seven technical assistance grants to advance employer-led workforce development efforts across the country. This grant is helping Employ Buffalo Niagara utilize a strategy called Talent Pipeline Management (TPM). Promoted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, TPM calls for employers to play a new and expanded leadership role as “end-customers” of the workforce system. This approach gives employers shared responsibility for developing the necessary talent to fill current skills gaps, while ensuring a wider cross-section of the community shares in the resulting economic prosperity.
“Employ Buffalo Niagara recognizes the connection between a high caliber workforce and economic strength,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, Head of Energy and Sustainability at Phillips Lytle LLP and a member of the coalition. “This initiative focuses on employers’ core business functions and better aligns the supply of talent to their specific needs. In doing so, Employ Buffalo Niagara will help create a robust pipeline of candidates trained and qualified to fill current and future job openings.”
Employ Buffalo Niagara is governed by an executive committee – staffed by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership – which oversees the work of the coalition. Employ Buffalo Niagara is open to anyone who wishes to participate and there are quarterly meetings and regular communications to keep interested parties informed. For more information, including a list of participating Employ Buffalo Niagara members, visit employbuffaloniagara.org or contact Jeff Conrad, the Partnerships’ Senior Director of Workforce Development at (716) 541-1729 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE BUFFALO NIAGARA PARTNERSHIP
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the region’s private sector economic development organization and regional chamber of commerce, representing nearly a quarter of a million employees in the Buffalo Niagara region. The Partnership’s work has three main focuses: advocacy, business development and convening. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara.