Economic Development Partners
The WNY Consortium of Higher Education partners with a number of economic development partners throughout Western New York. These partnerships often provide a springboard for students and employers alike and play a critical role in the Consortium's ability to achieve it's vision while simultaneously benefiting those who are working toward a stronger Western New York. While our 21 member colleges and universities are constantly forging individual partnerships which benefit the region, the following partnerships are specific to the WNY Consortium of Higher Education and represent a sector effort to positively impact the economic future of the region.
- Buffalo Niagara Partnership: The Consortium and Buffalo Niagara Partnership are working together to connect industry and higher education in order to achieve three goals: 1) assist colleges and universities with better understanding the required skills sets of growing industries within the WNY region and preparing students accordingly; 2) encourage a quicker response to corporate needs and promote stronger economic partnerships between Consortium members and the business community; and 3) expand the learning opportunities within businesses and promote strong business involvement in the academic process. These goals will be achieved by building Industry Specific Work Groups (ISWGs) that will contain educators from the Consortium and business leaders. Multiple ISWGs will be developed with an umbrella group of college presidents and corporate chief executive officers convening to provide strategic oversight and direction.
- P-16 Consortium: In what can be defined as an innovative and bold move long overdue, WNY's educational leaders including but not limited to K-12 superintendents, curriculum developers, teachers, college presidents, chief academic officers, deans, chairs, professors, Erie I BOCES, the Board of Regents (Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett), and the Consortium leadership convened to discuss the alignment (or lack thereof) along the P-16 continuum. The goal is to fix the "leaks" along the P-16 pipeline which is critical to area school districts, colleges and universities who are looking to improve student performance and college and career readiness. Since the original Summit in October of 2011, a P-16 Steering Committee has been formed to discuss how to move forward over the next several years. Task forces have been created along three tracks, 1) Common Core Standards in Math, Science, and ELA; 2) Teacher Education Programs; and 3) P-12 and Higher Education Partnerships. Annual summits are planned to track progress and provide strategic insight and support to the work of the task forces. Clearly the feedback from all involved suggests a cautious optimism for working together on finding a collective solution that works for all stakeholders along the P-16 continuum.
- P-16 Partnerships Web Site: The WNY P-16 Partnerships web site provides an online space for WNY partnerships that include a college or university and a high school/district. In addition, business partners and not-for-profit partners are included in this dynamic site that sorts partnerships along 25+ different categories, provides a program description, evaluation information, videos, and links. The "drop pin" feature offers visitors an opportunity to find where each partnership is located and view gaps in funded projects, assess opportunities for programming from partnerships similar to their own institution, and highlights best practices.
- Say Yes: The Consortium supports the work of Say Yes to Education Buffalo! Providing over $1,000,000 in scholarships annually, Consortium members have committed the financial and educational support necessary for the success of the Say Yes initiative. Over the course of the next few years, Say Yes will be engaged in the P-16 Consortium and the Consortium will provide presidential leadership to the Say Yes initiative. We are excited about the collaborative possibilities including but not limited to educational programming, K-12 and higher education partnerships, scholarships, shared leadership, and research.
- Buffalo Billion Workforce Implementation Group: Through a collaboration with Empire State Development and a number of collaborative partners, the Consortium is engaged in strategic workforce development initiatives that focus on the development of an educated and trained workforce capable of supporting growing advanced manufacturing businesses in WNY.
- The Workforce Training Center is one of the outcomes of the Buffalo Billion Regional Economic Development Council plan and the work of the Implementation Group was foundational in the current plans for the Workforce Training Center.
- WNY STEM: WNY STEM Hub of the Empire State STEM Learning Network focuses on advancing the interdisciplinary teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. The WNY Consortium of Education is a proud partner that seeks to provide expertise and professional resources to help WNY STEM accomplish its mission.
- WNY Consortium of Human Resources Executives: The Consortium has developed a strong partnership with the WNYCHRE which has resulted in a two-fold approach to better preparing our students for the knowledge economy.
Faculty Development Group: The Faculty Development Group completed its strategic plan and is creating measurable goals for future programming. A significant goal from the plan is to "Focus on the interrelationships between teaching, learning, and research in general education; acquisition of critical thinking, analysis, communication, and social skills; and articulated employment competency expectations." In order to achieve this goal they will use the "intersections between two reports, Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn (AACU, 2009) and Connecting Higher Education and the Region's Growing Industries (UB Regional Institute, 2011), as the framework for formulating strategies to enhance student career readiness. The Faculty Development Group hosted a spring training for its members and will develop an "implementation plan" that will achieve the above mentioned goals and detail annual objectives for the proposed initiative. In September of 2012, the Faculty Development Group will host a national speaker on how to cultivate stronger student outcomes conducive to career readiness.
WNY Association of College Career Centers: In July 2012, the Consortium will fully launch its Economic Development Portal which is currently anchored by the new WNYACCC web site. WNYACCC's new web site was achieved through a multi-year effort on the part of the Executive Board of WNYACCC and Consortium staff and leadership. The outcome is a platform upon which significant economic development initiatives can be launched; enhancing student development, post-graduate opportunities in the region, and improved collaboration between the Consortium and business community. Two areas that have proven of interest to both higher education and the business community are internships and enhanced economic development relationships.
- Buffalo Niagara Enterprise: The Consortium and the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise have worked to cross promote each others' web sites and agreed to, when applicable, support each others' efforts to attract companies and other organizations to the Western New York region. In addition, the Consortium has agreed to provide research support and data when requested by the BNE.
- The Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitor's Bureau: The Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitor's Bureau is Western New York's vehicle to recruiting national and international conferences as well as individual visitors to the region. The Consortium has utilized the BNCVB's web site in its Discover WNY section on its web site where visitors can learn all about local attractions as well as to plan a trip.
Western New York Economic Development Council: The Consortium, through the leadership of President Satish Tripathi of the University at Buffalo, played an instrumental role in the development of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council's Strategic Plan. Identified as one of the top three assets in WNY, the higher education sector was mentioned in each of the 10 work groups of the Council and contributed to the award of over $100,000,000 from the State of New York. The Consortium looks forward to continued engagement and playing the role of one of WNY's premier economic development engines.
John R. Oishei Foundation: In 2007, the John R. Oishei Foundation provided seed money to assist the WNY Consortium of Higher Education with researching the possible opportunities presented through increased collaboration among its 21 member institutions. Since then, the Consortium has exploded with collaborations and now boasts 19 inter-institutional collaborations and several major community initiatives targeting the P-16 education pipeline and regional economic development. Serving as a "catalyst for change," the John R. Oishei Foundation continues to provide critical leadership and support of Consortium activities.
ECIDA: Erie County Industrial Development Association: The Erie County Industrial Development Agency welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the Consortium and its activities. In a recent presentation, ECIDA representatives agreed that the Consortium can play a critical role in turning around WNY and looks forward to engaging the Consortium through its Economic Development Portal.
Workforce Investment Board & Workforce Development Consortium: The Workforce Investment Board and Workforce Development Consortium are two agencies recently engaged by the Consortium. With additional meetings scheduled, the Consortium, WIB, WDC, and Erie County will seek points of collaboration around workforce development and job training.
- Erie County Government: The Consortium and Erie County will work together on creating a stronger awareness around the opportunities that can be found in Advance Manufacturing. The Consortium will attend future County Workforce Investment Summits and the Consortium's WNYACCC will host a panel discussion on Advance Manufacturing and what students need to know.
Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association: The Consortium's WNY Association of College Career Centers has forged a collaboration with the Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association (BNHRA) in order to host joint programming, job fairs, and events; organize site visits and college presentations; as well as engage in professional development. It is the hope of both organizations that the newly formed partnership will benefit students and employers alike and facilitate the growth of the region's business and not-for-profit sectors.