The BEST Center Awarded Over $100,000 in SUNY Grants

Seven Local Businesses to Benefit
Economic development in Genesee County and its surrounding regions has been enhanced thanks to the innovative efforts of The BEST Center at Genesee Community College. Members of The BEST Center first identified grants available to small businesses in the area through the SUNY Community College Workforce Training Fund, and then carefully crafted an innovative grant program. This program not only successfully met the fund’s criteria, but it also exceeded the usual fiscal cap or grant request. The result: three separate SUNY Workforce Development grants totaling $108,070 that have been awarded to local businesses through The BEST Center.

Businesses included in the SUNY Workforce Development grants are: Oxbo International Corporation of Byron; Upstate Door of Warsaw; and a grant for a Human Resource Consortium, a new category this year, involving five distinct area businesses. The consortium, better known as the GLOW (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming Counties) Region Human Resource Forum, showcases a variety of industries from the GLOW region, specifically: CY Farms of Elba, Creative Foods of Perry, Graham Corporation of Batavia, PCore Electric of Leroy and US Gypsum of Oakfield.

“We decided to approach our annual grant request differently this year,“ Lina LaMattina, director of The Best Center said. “We chose to create a consortium of small businesses that share common human resource concerns, and with this wider scope of businesses being served, we could logically request more funds. This approach proved successful and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead this year.”

Starting this Fall and running for a year, the workforce development programs will take over 700 GLOW region employees through leadership, technical and human resource skill training modules. In order to be considered for these grants, local businesses must contribute at least 10% of the program costs and also agree to provide post-training information, state anticipated benefits to the company and its employees and the number of jobs created and/or retained as a result of the training.

The Human Resources Forum will encompass five small businesses that are very different in their respective industries, but share the common goal of benefitting from formal human resource training. The Forum will focus on HR rules and regulations, training employees, increasing efficiency and production, avoiding HR lawsuits, and providing basic computer skills to the participants. In the end, the extensive training will benefit more than 600 employees from CY Farms, Creative Foods, Graham Corporation, PCore Electric and US Gypsum and also help improve related business operations.

The grant awarded to Oxbo International Corporation will focus on leadership development, as well as improving the productivity and efficiency of their workforce. Training of employees will take place on site at their location on Batavia-Byron Road in Byron. The program’s goal is to ultimately extend the participants’ skills in problem solving, computer skills, social styles, process development and pre-engineering.

The grant awarded to Upstate Door will focus on developing the skills of the participants in interpersonal communication, customer service, computer skills, supervisory and leadership skills, as well as learning to work as a unified team. Training for Upstate Door employees will take place at the Genesee’s Warsaw Campus Center on Linwood Avenue.

“The funds will help the GLOW area sharpen their competitive edge, and retain and retrain employees that help empower a whole company. We are looking forward to working with them throughout the year,” Lina LaMattina said. “Taking an innovative approach to the grant writing process really paid off and will advance the economic development of our region by engaging employees. It is growing a business from the inside out.”

Genesee Community College’s BEST Center (which stands for Business Employee Skills Training) is a local provider of business consulting, community training and workshops for companies looking to advance their economic growth. The BEST Center offers a variety of tailored programs on-location at businesses across the GLOW region, or at any of Genesee’s seven campus locations. For further information on The BEST Center, please contact Lina LaMattina, Director, at 343-0055 ext. 6299 or visit the BEST Center online at