Program forges ties between students and Southern Tier businesses

Jul 26, 2016

We’ve all had young friends, relatives or neighbors who have left Western New York for greener economic pastures.

Olean Business Development is teaming up with two academic institutions in an effort to ease this migration.

The nonprofit group is partnering with St. Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College to give student hands-on encounters with local businesses. They will shadow entrepreneurs, take part in seminars and serve in internships. OBN operates a business incubator on N. Union Street in Olean, a

Leaders in Olean say the city is in the midst of a "transformational time."
Credit Olean Business Development

facility that will give students a chance to interact with entrepreneurs.

OBN President Larry Sorokes said it’s all about creating new opportunities that will keep students in the area when they graduate.

“Western New York region has suffered from an outmigration of young people,” he told WBFO.
“We’re trying to turn that around by engaging the education community in what we’re doing.”

The goal of the pact between the three entities is to help ensure that graduates can find jobs in the region. Sorokes believes the local economy will benefit through a program that offers new learning opportunities and creates ongoing dialogue between students and businesses.

“Particularly at St. Bonaventure, they have a couple of groups of students that are already looking to engage in problem-solving and assistance to entrepreneurs with specific issues that they can research and develop for them. So there would be sort of a think-tank going on within the building and within the community to work with those businesses.”

The agreement comes to fruition as crews move into the final stage of an $8.9 million dollar overhaul of downtown Olean. Officials at OBD are convinced this is a transformational time" for the city.