This year's Advocacy Agenda from local business and political leaders turns away from specific building projects to changes in government rules and regulations to lower the costs of government and business.
The Agenda has become a familiar list of priority items from this region sought in Washington and Albany. It has often been dominated by requests for buildings, like the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus or the Niagara Experience Center in Niagara Falls. This year, the lead item was opposition to Governor Cuomo's push for an increasingly rising minimum wage. Tapecon President Steve Davis pushed for more state Pell Grants to produce a more-educated workforce.
"Access to skilled labor is critical to the growth for both regional manufacturers and our regional economy. As the private and public sectors work together to produce opportunity in Buffalo Niagara, we must focus intently on ways that connect people to the jobs of the future," Davis said. "We have an opportunity to align educational attainment levels with current and future demands of regional employers."
The Agenda estimates there will be 17,000 openings in local manufacturing by 2020 with those good-paying jobs jobs requiring better trained workers, from certificate programs to master's degrees.