Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Foundation Supports Career Forum in Niagara [Buffalo Business First]

Sep 17, 2014 | Posted in News

Buffalo Business First - September 17, 2014:

With a goal toward supporting Niagara County workforce needs, the Niagara Area Foundation will host a forum Thursday aimed at strengthening career paths.

The Niagara County Solutions Forum: On-ramps to Success will bring together residents, local funders, as well as business and civic leaders to discuss the connection between educational preparation and workforce outcomes.

Besides taking a look at the strength and needs of the area’s workforce, organizers hope to spark a community conversation about Niagara County’s economic prosperity, which stems from the education and skills of its residents.

Employers need to take an active role in boosting both educational levels and opportunities for residents, said Cathy Walker, co-chair of the forum and CEO at Seneca Gaming Corp., one of the county’s largest employers.

“It’s asking how do we, as the civic leaders and business and community leaders, work together to try and tackle some of the issues that children and young people face in getting ready to get into this work environment,” she said.

The event takes place at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, beginning at 8:15 a.m.

The forum will include a presentation on the findings of the Niagara County Environmental Scan & Mobile Safety Net; as well as a panel discussion on the bright spots of employment by Empire State Development with representatives from the YWCA of Niagara, Isaiah 61 Project, Dream It, Do It; and the Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Project.

The goal is to create links between employers, government officials and health providers to help find ways to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, Walker said.

“It’s a big topic and we need to figure out a way for all of us to work together to accomplish some of our goals,” she said. “We realize there are so many different industries that are in this area, whether it’s health care, education, tourism or some of the mechanical engineering firms. Everybody is starting to get worried that over the next five to 10 years we’re not going to have individuals prepared for these jobs that we have. As the population ages and people are retiring, as children are growing and they’re coming out of school, we need to make sure they’re prepared.”

The Niagara Area Foundation is involved as a funder and a convener to help bring together all the partners who can make a difference, said Walker, who is also a foundation board member. With more than $5.2 million in assets, the Niagara Area Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Registration information can be found at

To view this story in Buffalo Business First, click here.

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