Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Education Coalition
The work accomplished through the partnership between Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant (JEP) and the Chautauqua County Education Coalition recently earned the Cummins Global and Engine Business Unit Impact Awards. The award honors Cummins’ employees work accomplished with its partners that embody Cummins’ mission, vision and values. The work of Cummins and the Education Coalition was recognized because of its success in aligning educational career pathways in manufacturing throughout Chautauqua County, which aligned with one of the five focus areas of the award – Community Impact in Education.
The primary purpose of the Chautauqua County Education Coalition (CCEC) is to align resources and build capabilities to meet the evolving workforce requirements of the community. To that end, the CCEC is building partnerships to assure that Chautauqua County is “community ready” for opportunities that advance our learning system and lead to job retention and job growth.
Cummins HR Manager Lori Jafarjian said, “Solving complex, long-term challenges such as workforce development requires that organizations work together consistently and strategically. No one organization can address the workforce development needs of the economy alone. The Coalition provides a structure so that organizations across various sectors (government, not-for-profit, for-profit, philanthropy, etc.) work together, share a common vision and agree on measurements of success. The staff and volunteers that support the Education Coalition are trained and skilled in collective impact work and facilitate the work of the more than 66 organizations working to address the workforce needs of the county.”
In 2017 one area of focus for the CCEC was to bring together key stakeholders with a focus on enhancing educational opportunities that would lead to manufacturing careers. Through the collaborative work of the coalition and its stakeholders they identified manufacturing career pathways as one of three strategic focus areas in the community and for the CCEC. Data collected by the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier identified significant workforce demand among manufacturers in the region. As part of this work, this group has identified catalytic initiatives across the County that connect the local workforce to the local manufacturing economy and worked on better connecting, building and enhancing these programs. These programs included: Dream It Do It (DIDI), Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), Jamestown Public School (JPS) – Academy of Pre-Engineering Manufacturing Industrial Technology (PEMIT), Manufacturing Technology Institute (MTI) at Jamestown Community College (JCC) and Industrial Equipment Technology (Industrial Maintenance) pathway development.
CCEC’s Executive Director Justin Hanft said, “We are honored to play a part, alongside Cummins employees, for this recognition. On behalf of the CCEC and our partner stakeholders we are truly creating a platform for community collaboration. It is the collection of the great work by many organizations along with volunteers supporting that work that made this recognition possible. Through dedicated collaboration, we have established, nurtured, and sustained some programs and initiatives that will have a significant positive impact on our workforce and economy well into the future. We sincerely appreciate the support provided by Cummins and their employees who have volunteered their time to this work.”
At the time of the award submission, the outcomes of this work included: over 3,500 student interactions with 27 schools during 2017 through the Dream It Do It Manufacturing Career Awareness Program; growth in the P-TECH program enrollment to 80 students from the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES region; 157 students enrolled in Jamestown High School’s Pre Engineering Manufacturing Industrial Technology Academy; support of the expansion of Jamestown Community College’s Manufacturing Technology Institute that enrolled 92 students in NYSED Accredited Programs; and facilitation of a curriculum gap analysis on the Industrial Equipment Technology certificate program at JCC with regional employers that led to the development of a consortium of trainees who participated in the Manufacturing Standards Skills Council Certified Production Technician program delivered by JCC. That training included four organizations and sixteen participants who received a nationally recognized CPT credential. The total number of Cummins volunteers that supported these programs and initiatives throughout the 2017 year was 116 employees.
Hanft added, “We have learned that job creation, job preparation and job access outcomes across the region must improve. We also have learned that quality of those outcomes is shaped by the performance and interactions of a complex web of independent individuals, organizations and institutions. These individual stakeholders acting alone cannot shape system outcomes. By working with complex systems through interaction and collaboration, we can improve results for all. If Chautauqua County’s economy is to be rich in growth and opportunity, we all need to be engaged and excel at collaboration.”
The CCEC and several of stakeholder organizations involved in the Coalition have been trained on the Stakeholder Engagement Process developed by the firm CivicLab, an Institute for Civic Collaboration out of southeast Indiana which continues to develop best practices in its field.
As a product of this work, all stakeholders participating in the Chautauqua County Education Coalition will continue to develop a clear message to potential students, parents, school counselors, and educators regarding career pathways in manufacturing in an effort to boost enrollment in available training programs and increase the supply of a skilled workforce available to manufacturers in the region.