The area of education was something that was among the goals discussed by the Education Action Team within the framework of the strategic plan in mid-2011. Jennifer Satalino and I met with Mayor Teresi in early August to discuss the direction in which this action team would move in the next few years. Mayor Teresi is very passionate about education in this community. The first thing on his agenda was to express his pride in Jamestown High School and Jamestown Community College. Mr. Teresi also mentioned that he felt that education is a key economic driver in any community. It's a key economic component for a number of reasons and some of the reasons that he talked about oddly enough dovetail very well with one of the sessions during the State University of New York strategic planning process. This belief will be reflected in the work of the action team.
The topic of the economic impact that four-year colleges or community colleges have on the communities in which they are located was discussed. It is widely understood that a college creates ongoing jobs through the hiring and retention of faculty members, staff members and others who work there day in, day out and then spend their money in the community. There are intermittent jobs that are created when a college or university takes on construction projects bringing people into the community, and spending money on employees and the materials and supplies that go into producing the product.
One of the things overlooked and not well understood is the impact that education actually has on the community. A speaker at one of the SUNY Strategic Planning sessions attended by Mr. Garfoot discussed the economic impacts that high quality schools, colleges and universities have on a community. A high school graduate, over the course of a lifetime, will earn money at a certain level. A person who earns a two-year degree person earns still more, a four-year degree more, and a master's-level degree. The income earned by individuals has a "trickle down" effect on the economy of a community, so the higher the degree achieved, the higher the income potential of the individual who earns the degree, and the more money that individual spends in his or her community. This will be examined by the Action Team.
Education is a very strong community asset which can greatly influence a family or company's thinking in terms of relocating to a community, and in the recruiting of people or a business to come into the community.
Essentially there is a great deal of research that the action team will need to do with respect to quantifying the economic impact of education on the community. This may not be so hard for Jamestown Community College because a number of impact studies have been done and updated over the years by outside groups. It is hoped that there is already a significant amount of information about economic impact from the perspective of SUNY Fredonia and the Jamestown School District
A strategic direction for the action team is being developed, as well as short-term and long-term charges
One of the outcomes of the action team's work will be a platform for marketing information to be made available for community use.
Action Team membership recruitment has begun. Commission Chairman Raab has noted that there needs to be "teacher" involvement with the action team. He noted that there is a different perspective if you're in the classroom on a daily basis.