Any time you find yourself in the midst of 500 high school students who are interacting with adults the enthusiasm becomes infectious. This was the case just over a week ago when the "Dream It, Do It!" initiative partnered with Jamestown Community College, over 30 manufacturers from throughout Chautauqua County, and eighteen local school districts to bring people together in a unique way.
Far from your average job fair, this Industrial Possibilities and Opportunities Day (IPODs) gave local students a chance to learn about career paths in manufacturing. All of the students who registered also had a chance to win one of five iPads and, as an extra incentive, the more they talked with company representatives the more chances they got to win. It was extraordinary to watch so many young people directly interact with local manufacturers - asking questions and learning about the many different types of jobs that are available right here in our own county.
A large variety of students attended: many who are already interested either in hands-on manufacturing, engineering, or associated fields; and many who had never before thought about what type of work they might eventually like to do. They learned that in many cases additional training or education is required for specialized manufacturing fields, and much of that education may be available locally.
The manufacturers in the room were obviously very pleased with the turnout and with the chance to talk with so many prospective employees. "This is our future," one of them said. "We will have a lot of retirements over the next few years and we need to have a trained and interested workforce moving forward, or else we won't exist."
Students who won the iPads were: Clarke Wiltsie from Frewsburg Central School, Edward Merwick from Jamestown High School, Ryan Boughton and Justin Whalen both from Maple Grove High School, and Hannah Hall-Gross from Pine Valley Central School.
"Dream It, Do It!" is designed to entice students to consider careers in manufacturing. The initiative is expanding throughout Western New York. You can learn more online at www.didiwny.com or www.facebook.com/didiwny.
The Chamber of Commerce is providing a unique opportunity this coming week for area business people to meet with a brand new representative in Congress. Just days after the election, the Chamber will present the annual federal Congressional luncheon, to be held Friday at Moon Brook Country Club. Both Republican candidate Rep. Tom Reed and Democratic candidate Nate Shinagawa have accepted the invitation, and whoever wins the election will be the Chamber's guest speaker that day.
Since new Congressional District lines were drawn following the 2010 Census, this is the first election for the new 23rd Congressional District. As a result, the nature of the district has changed and this will be a first chance for the new Congressman to meet with his constituency.
The cost of the luncheon is $18 for Chamber members or $21 for non-members. This event is sponsored by Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Jamestown Mattress Company, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, Medicor Associates, NRG Dunkirk Power, WCA Hospital, Jamestown Jammers Baseball, the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Chadwick Bay Broadcasting WDOE/KIX96, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX. Anyone who wants to attend may call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101 to register, or may register online at www.chautauquachamber.org.
The Chamber of Commerce and JCC's Office of Continuing Education will be offering four new social media classes for business.
If your business has a website and you are wondering whether anyone can find you online, "SEO and Google Analytics" will provide valuable information on how to make your website be one of the first to show up when someone Google's your name or type of business. Search Engine Optimization is the key to being "found" on the web. This class will be held from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday in the computer lab at JCC's Carnahan Center.
"Having A Web Presence Without a Website" is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13 at JCC's Carnahan Center. The Small Business Development Center is also a co-sponsor of this session, which will demonstrate how you can use other forms of social media to develop a presence on the Internet.
In addition, two classes in December will be offered jointly at both the Jamestown and Dunkirk campuses. This social media series is being offered for free to Chamber members and non-members alike, thanks to funding from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, and the Knight Foundation. Lunch will be provided for these classes. To register, contact Continuing Ed at JCC at 338-1005.
The Community Chamber Development Corporation, an Affiliate of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, is helping to provide answers to insurance questions through the Small Business Assistance Program. SBAP is an initiative of the Community Service Society (CSS), a network of organizations across New York State that helps consumers and small business get affordable health care and health insurance. Through SBAP we can provide health reform information and training for employers and one-on-one consultations on insurance options, costs, tax credits, enrollment, dispute resolution, and more.
If you have a small business and are looking for direct answers to questions about insurance, including new regulations surrounding the Affordable Care Act, tax credits, and more, please call CCDC at 366-6200 or 484-1101 for more information.