For years, former mayor Sam Teresi lobbied for Jamestown Community College to be elevated to a four-year university. Teresi noted that Jamestown is the largest urban area in the state without a four-year university or college. It is the only city in New York’s top 10 population centers without a four-year college.
“Today’s 21st century companies trade and often have access to what is called ‘intellectual capital’. “ Teresi told the Post-Journal in 2015, adding that higher-level colleges help attract qualified people and enrich the region through cultural, social and recreational perspectives.
Assembly Member Anddrew Goodell R-Jamestown said at the time that the JCC and Fredonia State University should perhaps team up so that courses leading to four-year degrees can be offered to Jamestown.
How premonitory those words are after learning that it wasn’t primarily taxes or space that drove Truck-Lite out of its Falconer headquarters – it was the constant flow of electrical engineers, scientists data and business leaders from Erie and Penn State-Behrend.
Truck-Lite will build two research laboratories in the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center: a 1,745 square foot product modeling laboratory and a 4,075 square foot photometric test facility, which will be used to study the light emitted by LEDs, lamps and other devices. Truck-Lite has sponsored student research projects at the Penn-State Behrend School of Engineering since 2006 and subsequently opened an innovation center in Knowledge Park.
We’ve seen, over the years, how our region has struggled to provide local businesses with the types of employees they need – whether it’s a lack of engineers, skilled trades or employees with the general skills needed to work in tourism and retail.
Creating an education system that produces the kind of human capital that can lead to a 21st century economy must happen in Jamestown. Frankly, it was long overdue.
But until the Jamestown area produces a constant flow of the types of workers that businesses need, it will never break its decades-long trend of economic contraction.