Genesee Community College Receives National Economic Development Best Practices Award from Association of Community College Trustees

In an unusual happenstance, three western New York community colleges are recipients of the National Community Economic Development Best Practices Award given by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), a nonprofit educational organization comprised of governing boards of public and private community, technical, and junior colleges. Genesee, Erie and Monroe Community Colleges will each be presenting their respective award-winning "Best Practice" for Community Economic Development at the Regional Leadership Conference occurring June 23-26, 2004 in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference will focus on the economic interdependence between colleges and their communities with targeted sessions and expert speakers from across the eastern United States illustrating the important inter-connections among educational institutions and local businesses.

Genesee Community College's award recognizes the E-Business Initiative and Web Portal Project shared by three distinct private and public sector organizations. The E-Business project features a unique partnership with The BEST Center of Genesee Community College, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce (GCCC), and website development firm Entre Computer Services of Rochester, NY. Together, the organizations received a $100,000 grant from the New York State Senate to enhance the World Wide Web presence of businesses in Genesee County. The venture is divided into two segments: the first portion of the project was creating a GCCC web portal to serve as the virtual doorway and effectively link area businesses to world wide commerce opportunities through an affordable and efficient Internet presence. Go to http://geneseeny.com to explore the new web portal.

The second component of the project is the development and/or enhancement of websites of other selected Genesee County businesses whose marketing, retail, customer service, or business practices will greatly benefit from an independent Internet presence. From an applicant pool of 27 Genesee County companies, 11 businesses were selected to participate after attending free informational seminars, completing a written application, and passing a comprehensive assessment survey to determine their "E-business readiness."

The 11 participating businesses currently in the final stages of developing their individual websites include: Angler Sport Group Ltd., Elba, NY; Attica Veterinary Associates, P.C., Attica, NY; Boshart Enterprises and Aircraft Services Inc., Batavia, NY; Empire Tractor Inc., Batavia, NY; Filomena's Bakery, Batavia, NY; Genesee Area Family YMCA, Batavia, NY; Genesee County Mental Health Association, Batavia, NY; Mancuso Commercial Realty, Batavia, NY; Oliver's Candies, Batavia, NY; RS Fabrication & Repair Inc., LeRoy, NY; and United Memorial Medical Center, Batavia, NY. New or enhanced websites should be launched this summer and a final report on the overall project will be presented to Empire State Development Corporation this fall.

Genesee Community College / The BEST Center will also be presenting its E-Business Initiative / Web Portal project at ACCT's 2004 Leadership Congress to be held in New Orleans from October 7-9, 2004. At the national meeting, conference attendees will have the opportunity to view 30 different Best Practice Awards representing each of ACCT's six regions from across the United States and Canada. There were five awards given to each of the six regions.

"In light of President Bush's State-of-the-Union address, which pointed to community colleges as key players in strengthening our nation's workforce, we are very proud of the E-Business Initiative," Jerry Kozlowski, Dean of The BEST Center said. "This kind of private-public collaboration is win-win-win for businesses, communities, and community colleges. The project is anticipated to spawn an E-Business incubator and become a model for other counties across New York State and possibly the nation."

The BEST Center, an acronym for Business and Employee Skills Training, is the workforce development division of Genesee Community College. While offering state-of-the-art conference facilities for both large meetings and small intimate groups, The BEST Center also tracks and promotes business development in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Training, workshops, seminars and consulting services are available on campus, on-location, and frequently online. Programs can be tailor-made to specific goals, and The BEST Center continuously offers a variety of seminars to enhance computer, management, leadership and industry-specific skills. For further information go to: www.bestcenter.org or call 585-345-6868.

Following the motto "The Voice of Community College Leaders," ACCT has more than 7,000 members who make financial, technology, academic, and community-based decisions impacting 1,200 community colleges and over 11 million students throughout the U.S. and abroad. The nonprofit organization is headquartered in Washington, DC. Further information can be found at their website: www.acct.org Monroe Community College will present a best practice on its partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on an apprentice program. The combination of on-the-job training with higher education gives union members college credit for their work. The certificate program, open to IBEW members, creates an intimate collaborative between the two organizations and represents a wave for the future in apprentice training. For further information contact: Dianne E. McConkey, Department of Public Affairs at 585-292-3063.

Erie Community College's Best Practice Award involved providing non-credit professional development training programs that would help stabilize, upgrade, and retain the current workforce in Erie County. Over the past three decades, the depletion of manufacturing jobs has destabilized the western New York region leaving a void in highly skilled employees for companies wishing to remain in the region. Through the development and implementation of local strategic alliances with critical manufacturing employers, such as Delphi, General Motors, and Ford, ECC's Workforce has created successful non-credit training programs that have fostered global competitiveness and economic benefit. For further information contact: Lance Konkle, ECC's Director of Public Relations at 716-851-1868.

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