On April 7, the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency board unanimously voted to move forward with the planning of a new employee position. This position, currently titled education workforce coordinator, was presented during the meeting by Brittany Woodburn, deputy director of Tioga County’s Economic Development & Planning group, who came to the IDA in hopes they would be willing to house the position if it came into fruition.

In June of 2020, the ED&P completed work on a workforce development strategy that would span across Tioga County. Woodburn said during the meeting that since then, they have been working on implementing “two of the key strategic actions from that plan,” both leading to the creation of the education workforce coordinator position.

The first of the key actions is the creation of a Talent Supply Table, described in the development strategy with the goal of “[bringing] together business, industry, educators, and employment support organizations to ensure open dialogue, knowledge exchange, and information sharing.” This Talent Supply Table is designed to unite all six K–12 school districts and the three BOCES systems that cover Tioga County “with the intent to be able to support talent development for our employers on a regional level and then build career pipelines as well for our students,” said Woodburn. She continued on to say the ED&P has interviewed all of the school district superintendents and BOCES systems, and they have had “really positive reactions to this initiative…and have expressed a lot of interest in coming to the table to make this happen.”

Local employers have expressed their interest in setting up one point of contact for working with schools. Such partnerships enable hands-on learning opportunities such as apprenticeships, internships, and co-ops, but normally, these programs are difficult to set up and coordinate since each school district and BOCES system has different requirements and procedures for doing so. Funneling these separate branches of contact through one point would benefit employers and streamline the process.

The second strategic action the ED&P has been working on implementing is a third-party liaison to coordinate and manage the Talent Supply Table and involved contacts. School districts have identified a need for this position, one example being Broome-Tioga BOCES, which is “really looking to connect their students in their culinary, hospitality, and security guard programs with potential careers with businesses in Tioga County,” Woodburn said.

Woodburn admitted that previous efforts have been attempted in the past with little success due to a lack of time and resources. She hopes that in forming a full-time position that is dedicated to this work would remedy any previous issues and lead this effort to success.

Woodburn stated during the meeting that express interest in providing full funding for this full-time education workforce coordinator position has been shown. It would first run for three years, and after it has been established and has proven itself, it would become sustainable with a public-private partnership with buy-ins from schools, employers, and workforce partners. To move forward in the implementation of this position, the ED&P was asked to identify an organization that could potentially house the position, and so Woodburn came to April 7’s meeting to propose the offer.

The IDA board unanimously voted for this proposal, showing their interest in housing the possible position.

The recorded April 7 IDA meeting can be found on the organization’s YouTube channel, where it will be kept for five years. The workforce development strategy can be found on the ED&P’s website. The next IDA meeting will be held on May 5, which will be livestreamed and available for viewing on its YouTube channel.

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