Education and business benefit from teamwork

Cheers to the work of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose transformative Tax-Free New York initiative blooms from the essence of Erie Community College’s strongest asset: collaboration between education and business.

Students who attend classes at any of our three ECC campuses benefit from our institution’s regionwide supply of cultivated business partnerships. They inform our curriculum, advise our instructors and lead many of our graduates into successful careers. This type of collaboration has not only built our college into Western New York’s workforce development leader, but it builds our surrounding communities into competitive, vibrant entities.

The deal approved by the state not only encourages these collaborations to continue, but influences them to multiply. If businesses choose to operate near our SUNY centers of education, they’ll have the chance to become familiar with our career-focused programs and students, both of which could work hand-in-hand in growing their industries. Find representatives of any one of our more than 300 business partners – such as Moog, Keller Technologies or Delaware North – and they’ll tell you that such teamwork has been mutually beneficial.

This tax-free incentive should help enhance the surroundings of our City, North and South Campuses. ECC has invested more than $25 million into our City Campus buildings over the past five years, and we’re planning to add a $30 million academic center to our footprint at North. Despite these on-campus efforts to accommodate 15,000 students and staff members, we’ve seen minimal private development surrounding these locales. Cuomo’s plan could give the development community the nudge it needs to cater to this growing population and, in turn, economically infuse three beautiful Empire State communities.

Jack Quinn

President, Erie Community College