CentreREADY, the CBICC's workforce preparedness and certification initiative is the featured Workforce Spotlight for January on the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry's "Start the Conversation HERE" website. "Start the Conversation HERE" is a grassroots initiative aimed at addressing the skills gap in Pennsylvania by increasing public awareness of the growing demand for workers in the skilled trades, and other employment trends in the Commonwealth. The CBICC's CentreREADY initiative brings business and education together to address the specific workforce needs of local employers. Read the spotlight.
A new CBICC initiative -- ABC Essentials -- will promote opportunities to serve on municipal authorities, boards and commissions. Many of the decisions made by these volunteer boards and commissions ultimately impact business growth and job creation. Being proactive about encouraging individuals to serve is essential to the CBICC's work to create a healthy business operating environment. The ABC Essentials initiative will not only help educate about available openings in the county, but also how decisions and the timeliness of decisions correlate to economic growth. More information about the initiative and the program schedule can be found here.
A new report, "Skilled Workers Needed: Ensuring Investments in Career and Technical Education," states that workforce development is key to Pennsylvania's economic future. We couldn't agree more. The CBICC recently stood with PA Schools Work and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children -- authors of the study -- in calling for an additional $10 million investment* into the CTE subsidy as part of the 2019-20 state budget. There are many examples of the exciting careers and opportunities available to students through career and technical education. The jobs are there, but without the sustained investments in career and technical education, CTE quality and its ability to support Pennsylvania's economic development could be compromised. Everyone wants to see Centre County thrive. Sustained investments in career and technical education funding will ensure our region continues to do so.
*The governor's 2019-20 budget proposal calls for a $10 million increase in CTE funding.
State College Magazine recently asked CBICC President and CEO Vern Squier (along with other local leaders and dreamers) his thoughts about what is needed to move Centre County forward in 2019. Here is what he had to say:
"Big ideas” abound in Centre County. Innovation drives the economy – from Penn State University research-driven startups to business people embracing new approaches to operating in traditional industry sectors. Visionary thinking and pride in community are equally evident in State College and the Centre Region, and are leading to resurgence and reinvention in towns such as Bellefonte, Philipsburg and Millheim – and areas in between.
Collective “big picture,” foundational thinking is paramount to the success of these individual “big ideas.” Only if rooted in a healthy environment, can those planted truly grow and flourish. This understanding is what drives the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County’s collaborative economic, business and professional development mission.
At the most basic level, a supportive “big idea” environment means a having a strong local economy. To that end, we have a responsibility to take care of our own; to proffer a collective commitment to ensuring that Centre County businesses have what they need to compete and grow – from a workforce, operational, regulatory and general support perspective.
Partnerships are essential to effectively address the challenges that hold us back and embrace opportunities that will propel us forward as a county. Fortunately, this collaborative spirit also abounds in Centre County.
For example, the CBICC-led “DRIVE Forward” initiative created a true community grassroots effort to help state and federal officials secure funding for a major transportation infrastructure project – a high-speed I-99/I-80 interchange – that will benefit commerce, tourism and the motoring public.
Our visionary CentreREADY workforce preparedness initiative is bringing together all of Centre County’s five public school districts and two career/technical training institutions to address the specific workforce needs of local and area employers.
Partnering with the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, newly formed task forces will explore air service enhancements and the possibilities presented by agri-tourism. Additionally, the CBICC will soon launch a countywide initiative to address the critical needs of municipal and county governments in finding engaged citizens to serve on authorities, boards and commissions.
The CBICC and its business, academic, government and community partners are proud to undertake this essential foundational work, and in the process, are fulfilling a vision for what Centre County can be – a place where individual big ideas can thrive!