Assemblyman John D. Ceretto joined local business, education and industry leaders at a forum Wednesday at the Niagara Falls Public Library to discuss ways to ensure a thriving small business community in Niagara County. This is achieved, he said, by building the "innovation economy," as well as creating and retaining private-sector jobs.
"As a former teacher and former vice chairman of the Niagara County Economic Development Committee, I'm proud to bring together local business owners and educators to discuss the future of the 'innovation economy' in Niagara County, especially their ideas for keeping quality jobs in our area," Ceretto said.
"We discussed three critical questions," Ceretto continued. "How can we improve education and vocational skills development so New York continues to have the high-skilled, well-educated workforce the jobs of tomorrow will demand? How can we strengthen the spirit of entrepreneurship and free enterprise while breaking down government and regulatory barriers? And how can we support emerging high-tech and precision manufacturing industries in Niagara Falls so we can grow more good jobs and continue to lead an innovation economy?"
The "innovation economy" focuses on growing small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups, emphasizes lifetime learning, values vocational training, places a premium on continued skills development and seeks to transform government from a command-and-control bureaucratic obstacle into a productive partner that actually helps job creators achieve their goals.
"I am glad to be a part of today's productive discussion between leaders in the local business and educational communities," said Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, a member of the Assembly committee on education. "Western New York has a proud history as a birthplace of innovation. I am excited to see educators and business owners working hand-in-hand to prepare our young men and women to succeed in the 'innovation economy' of the 21st century."
"Education is important because our region needs not only more education, but more focused learning and more targeted skill development that prepares people for the careers of today and tomorrow," said Dr. Shawn Daly, dean of the College of Business Administration and professor of marketing at Niagara University.
Forum participants included members of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, Niagara County Department of Economic Development, Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and Niagara University.
"Manufacturing and high-tech are the jobs of the future for our area, but small businesses are hampered by excessive health insurance prices, burdensome government regulations, exorbitant fuel costs and high taxes that are unfortunately 'the cost of doing business' in New York," said Assemblyman Bill Reilich. "The experts we spoke with today gave us valuable feedback on how New York lawmakers can help our state's small businesses and manufacturers prosper. We plan on bringing much of what we heard today back to Albany so we can make sure the state is on the right track and helping our region's 'innovation economy' businesses flourish."