Erie County Council will be discussing at its meeting tonight a new initiative to put Erie on the map and attract businesses to Erie.
County Executive Kathy Dahlkempter is hoping County Council will approve the funds needed to create a program called up for the job. The goal is to show all that Erie has to offer to potential businesses. Dahlkemper is asking the council to approve $50,000 from the general fund budget to create the ‘Up for the Job’ program. “We know that we are a great place to live and work,” she says, “but the rest of the country often doesn’t know that.”
The total cost is $102,000 for the year of research and consultant company fees. Dahlkemper says the remaining money could come from the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and Grants. “We’re not sure about the other funding, but, so far, the other entities seem very positive about this program.”
Dahlkemper says the first began when local UE 506 was receiving phone calls asking for the names of skilled workers laid off from GE about a year ago, and since then, she says it’s been a collaboration between local unions, the United Way and the Erie Regional Chamber to bring the businesses to the workers.
Barbara Chaffee of Erie Regional Chamber and Growth, tells us, “It’s a look at how do we attract jobs for those who are highly skilled and plentiful in this marketplace so we can attract business to higher them? So… for attraction and expansion.”
But, not everyone’s in favor. One County Councilman says this initiative is not the purpose of county government. Ed Dimattio (R) Erie County Council says, “This is what the chamber does. Now, if the chamber is involved in this, and it seems they are, I’m really curious as to why they want to pass it off on the county. Are they trying to get out of the business that they are in? We have so many economic development agencies in Erie County and everyone is jocking for a position trying to say, ‘geez, I brought the big winner and I hit the homerun.'” Dimattio also saying the dollar figures don’t add up with the future of ECGRA still up in the air.
The first reading is on the meeting’s agenda tonight. Dahlkemper hopes they will go to a second reading tonight and approve the funds. She says the consultant is ready to go and the work will begin immediately if or when it is approved.