Buffalo Niagara Partnership Releases Annual Report, Highlights Workforce Development Initiatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2019

Buffalo Niagara Partnership Releases Annual Report, Highlights Workforce Development Initiatives

BUFFALO, N.Y.—The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce, today released its 2018-2019 Annual Report to Members and announced a deepening focus on workforce development.

During her remarks, Dottie Gallagher, the Partnership’s President & CEO, said the Partnership is looking forward to the future of its member companies and the Buffalo Niagara region.

“There is no doubt that Buffalo Niagara is moving in the right direction,” Gallagher said. “But, as we all know, there is a lot of work left to do. As we look to address Buffalo Niagara’s economic challenges there is no panacea and no silver bullet. Even so, there is no denying that workforce development is truly job number one.”

To that end, Gallagher said the Partnership is intensifying its focus on workforce development and securing new resources to best serve its members.

As recently as 2015, the Partnership spent approximately 6 percent of its budget on workforce development efforts. Beginning with the Partnership’s 2019-2020 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, Gallagher announced that the Partnership will increase that investment to nearly 20 percent of its budget.

Gallagher also announced the creation of a new senior leadership position, Vice President of Talent Programs, to coordinate and lead the Partnership’s talent and workforce efforts and said the Partnership recently hired a Director of Talent Pipeline Management to advance its work. Laura Smith, a 20-year veteran of the Partnership and its current Vice President of Economic Development, will become Executive Director of the Employ Buffalo Niagara coalition.

“Despite our effort and success to date, we know our work is just getting started,” Gallagher said. “The challenge is tall, and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is rising to meet it.”

Results of the Partnership’s 2018 member survey showed that respondents identified difficulty in finding and retaining qualified talent as their top concern, up from the third spot the year before. In addition:

  • 50 percent of survey respondents said workforce development is a paint point right now for their organization, up 12 percentage points from the previous year;
  • 75 percent of survey respondents said workforce development is a pain point now or will be in the next 2 to 5 years; and
  • 50 percent of survey respondents said they struggle to achieve a diverse workforce.

 

The Partnership’s workforce development initiatives include:

  • BN360, a young professional engagement and development program designed to engage young professionals in the community, help them build their circles of influence, and offer professional development opportunities. Today, the program includes more than 1,700 members and 59 corporate members.
  • The Employ Buffalo Niagara coalition, a 180-member group led by employers and backboned by the Partnership. The coalition is comprised of education and training entities, workforce resources, and non-profit organizations. Its mission is to remove barriers to full employment for the underemployed, with a focus on the working poor, and to build talent pipelines that will help low-wage workers upskill into meaningful careers.
  • Talent Pipeline Management, a model developed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to manage several employer collaboratives focused on key industries. Talent Pipeline Management is a demand-driven, employer-led approach to closing the skills gap that’s designed to build talent supply chains aligned to dynamic business needs. Thus far, the Partnership has launched employer collaboratives in manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, and customer service with plans to launch collaboratives in healthcare and technology.
  • Diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the Partnership’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and the recent Diversity & Inclusion Symposium.

 

“It has been another year of growth, accomplishment and success for the Partnership,” Gallagher said. “We continue to engage our members in new and more meaningful ways. We have convened members around key issues impacting employers and have developed new ways to bring timely and topical information directly to our members. And our advocacy work continues to help define our organization as a champion of employers.”

Gallagher delivered her remarks before more than 200 people during the Partnership’s annual meeting, held this morning at the Lexus Club in KeyBank Center.

Sponsors of the Partnership’s annual meeting included title sponsor KeyBank; presenting sponsor Univera Healthcare; Coffee Talk sponsor Lumsden McCormick LLP; video production sponsors Buffalo Video Production and Key Video Productions; event sponsors National Grid and United Airlines; and supporting sponsors First Amherst Development Group and St. Bonaventure University.

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ABOUT THE BUFFALO NIAGARA PARTNERSHIP
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.
Learn more at thepartnership.org.

ABOUT THE BUFFALO NIAGARA PARTNERSHIP
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.


For Press Inquiries, Please Contact Grant Loomis, Vice President, Government Affairs at gloomis@thepartnership.org or 716-541-1736