The Rochester Community Coalition unveils its yearly agenda. Local leaders say their plans stem from six specific areas of importance:
- Equity for Local Government
- Supporting Working Families
- Strengthening Education
- Creating Jobs through Innovation
- Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Priority Projects
- Investing in Infrastructure
President of the Rochester Business Alliance Bob Duffy says all of the points boil down to the same basic premise: job creation is the key to economic prosperity.
"My priorities, quite frankly, are about jobs. It's about creating jobs, it's about creating a greater level of commerce for our members - we have about 1600 RBA members - we're a chamber of commerce. It's about business. Business creates jobs."
Duffy says all local leaders are united in this goal, which made for a productive meeting.
University of Rochester President Joel Seligman says that he's never been more excited and proud to be from the Finger Lakes region. He made special mention of the Upstate Economic Revitalization Competition, and the federal grant competition to build a photonics institute.
"This is our year. There has never been a time in recent memory in Rochester, or the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Region, where we've had so many opportunities."
Although many of the initiatives would create highly skilled jobs, Mayor Lovely Warren says that doesn't mean unskilled workers would be necessarily left behind.
"We know that with every skill job that you bring to the area that you bring other lower skilled jobs to the area as well. So, I think for every one skilled job you create three lower skilled jobs by doing that."
Mayor Lovely Warren has said her priority is to give people in Rochester the means to lift themselves out of poverty. One of the initiatives she says she's excited about this year is creating a business cooperative.
"One of the things that we're doing as part of this coalition is a market-driven co-op model, which actually will be located in some of our challenged communities, that will allow the people that live there to work in that particular co-op as well as eventually become owners of that co-op."
Warren says the plan is based on Cleveland, Ohio's Evergreen Cooperatives. They are described as "an integrated network of for-profit, employee-owned, green businesses."
For a complete list of the initiatives of the 2015 Rochester Community Coalition Agenda, check out their website.