Hanft To Lead Chautauqua Education Coalition

Justin Hanft has been hired as the executive director for the Chautauqua County Education Coalition. Submitted photo

The Chautauqua County Education Coalition hired Justin Hanft early this year to serve as executive director of the initiative.

“Justin has done an impressive job of building the Dream It Do It career initiative over the past few years and has been actively engaged in the work of the Education Coalition, he is a natural fit for his new role,” said Todd Tranum, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier executive director. “In a short period of time, Justin has built a strong network and connections with businesses and education, all of which will serve him well as he coordinates a broad group of stakeholders toward a goal of enhancing our local education system.”

The primary purpose of the Chautauqua County Education Coalition is to align resources and build capabilities to meet the evolving workforce requirements of the community. The coalition made up of 70 stakeholder organizations is building partnerships to assure that we are ‘community ready’ for opportunities that advance the county’s learning system, and lead to job retention and job growth. The coalition has worked toward achieving its goal by bringing together key stakeholders with a focus on enhancing education in the Chautauqua County learning system to better meet the employment needs in the region. The primary business sectors involved with the work of the coalition at this time are health care and manufacturing. The coalition is also focused on kindergarten readiness and the connection that exists between this aspect of our educational programs and the impact it has on the future success of the children throughout the county.

“The work of the coalition is extremely important to our county’s learning system and I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead this effort,” Hanft said.

Prior to taking on the executive director position with the Chautauqua County Education Coalition, Hanft spent four years as industrial services manager for the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier and in that capacity he also served as coordinator of the Dream It. Do It. program. Hanft is a certified history teacher in New York state. Hanft serves as president of the Chautauqua Leadership Network Board of Advisers. From 2008 to 2011, Hanft served as running backs/special teams coach at Alfred University. Hanft received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and his Master of Science in literacy education from Alfred University.

“Cummins has worked extensively with Justin through the Manufacturers Association and the Dream It. Do It. program and he has demonstrated leadership that we are confident will assist the Education Coalition in meetings its goals and objectives,” said Mike Abbate, Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant manager. “The coalition has forged strong connections between the educational, business and not-for-profit sectors in an effort to align resources.”

“Justin has the ability to bring people together around common objectives and forge strong partnerships,” said Ann Abdella, executive director of the Chautauqua Health Network. “The coalition is playing an important role in our community in that it bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders to help advance our learning system and support the needs of business.”

“The Education Coalition is an asset to the community that has helped build strong partnerships among business, education and a variety of organizations that work with the educational system,” said David O’Rourke, superintendent of Erie 2 BOCES. “Bringing Justin into this role is critical to helping the coalition continue its progress forward.”


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