United Way Donates $5,000 To Coalition

From left, Todd Tranum, Chautauqua County Education Coalition board member; Adam Dolce, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County executive director; Justin Hanft, Chautauqua County Education Coalition executive director; Tim Call, Athenex senior director of manufacturing. Submitted photo

The Chautauqua County Education Coalition was awarded a $5,000 grant from the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County to continue its ongoing work within Chautauqua County’s learning system.

The coalition is a public-private partnership made up of 125 stakeholders representing 70 organizations and is the catalyst for collaboration around four components within Chautauqua County’s educational system: early childhood, middle school to high school career pathways, current employer needs and community collaboration.

Justin Hanft, coalition executive director said, “The work continues to grow and evolve and is focused primarily around creating strong cross sector relationships between K-12, the manufacturing and healthcare community, Non-profits, government, and local foundations. The underpinning of this work is to also focus on and pay close attention to high school graduation rates, post-secondary credentials, two-year degrees, four-year degrees and beyond. We are very fortunate in this area to be blessed with terrific employers throughout the region and we know that the work is going to require more and more higher levels of education over time. The coalition is working hard to align resources and build capabilities of our organizations to meet these evolving workforce requirements of our community.”

The United Way of Northern Chautauqua County empowers the community by investing in health, education and financial stability throughout the northern Chautauqua area. Since 2000, they have invested more than $4 million into critical services utilized by residents. The Education Impact awards being issued are the result of a generous gift left by the estate of James Selan. The board and volunteer committee reviewing grant applications believed that the best way to meet the expectations of Selan was to invest that gift into special education initiatives that will allow young people to grow and thrive for years to come.

United Way of Northern Chautauqua County Executive Director Adam Dolce stated, “We are deeply committed to the work of the Chautauqua County Education Coalition. They have done a tremendous job of bringing together our business, education, and community leaders to address our immediate needs and to look ahead to create a sustainable and in-demand workforce. They are addressing critical issues and have built a coalition that has achieved results and proven to have a positive impact on youth and the community at large. We truly feel that this investment is exactly the type of important work Mr. Selan would have wanted his legacy invested in.”

Key accomplishments of the Chautauqua County Education Coalition during the past year include, but are not limited to:

¯ Secured $238,000 in funding from The Ralph Wilson Jr. Foundation & The Cummins Foundation to support the scalability of the Parents as Teachers program operated by Jamestown Community Learning Council to area Chautauqua County School Districts

¯ Secured $66,000 in STEM funding opportunities through National Grid to support STEM programming in the Chautauqua County region.

¯ Initial and expanded funding to the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Programs state-wide.

¯ Cummins JEP and the Chautauqua County Education Coalition were presented a national recognition through Cummins National Engine Business Unit Impact Award for their joint efforts in aligning educational career pathways in manufacturing throughout Chautauqua County.

¯ Assisted the Jamestown Community Learning Council’s Parents as Teachers program in developing a business plan to grow capacity and supported their efforts to become eligible for State Aid reimbursement through Erie 2-Chautauqua Cattaraugus BOCES.

¯ Strategic planning and support of the Workforce Readiness Scholarship rolled out through Jamestown Community College.

¯ Support of key manufacturing identified catalytic projects: Dream It Do It, Pathways in Technology Early College Highschool, Chautauqua Lake STEAM Academy and the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College.

The coalition has implemented strong processes with the help of the CivicLab, an institute for civic collaboration, located in Southeast Indiana.

The strategies and techniques used to achieve alignment to support manufacturing are being replicated to improve kindergarten readiness, align middle school to high school pathways that support health care and coordinate and align offerings of group training for in-demand occupations in health care and manufacturing.

The collaboration the coalition represents improves the outcomes of the educational system of Chautauqua County by providing a network through which players within that system learn together, develop a shared understanding of what is possible and work collectively to achieve common goals.

At its core the Chautauqua County Education Coalition is stakeholder driven, so if you are reading this, we would invite you to participate in this critical community endeavor. For information about coalition meetings and upcoming events, visit educoalition.com or like the coalition on Facebook.

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