News

Employee Training Funds Available

Posted on July 26, 2007

Employee training funds are available through ADVACNE-NY RFA #25-M, which is an initiative funded through the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), using monies provided under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), to promote job creation and economic growth through workforce development. The program will fund projects that address identified skilled worker shortages within an industry or a single employer’s business by promoting occupational skills training to upgrade the employed workers. ADVANCE-NY can provide grants of up to $50,000 per company per year to cover the costs of such training. For more information please contact The BEST Center at (585)345-6868 or Rae Frank at Community Action at (585)237-2600. 

Governor Spitzer’s Workers’ Comp Reform Passes

Posted on July 26, 2007

Governor Eliot Spitzer’s workers’ compensation reform bill recently passed the state Legislature, following years of advocacy by The Business Council and 12 weeks of intensive negotiations involving the Spitzer administration, legislative leaders, Business Council President Kenneth Adams, and the state AFL-CIO.

“This is an historic step forward toward improving New York’s business climate,” Adams said.  “The reform package provides support to New York State’s business owners and workers alike. It is also a significant achievement for The Business Council - one that we have been seeking for years.”

“Over the years, the Chamber and its Legislative Committee have discussed and advocated for reforms to workers’ comp,” stated Rick Henry, Chair of the Chamber’s Legislative Committee. It is encouraging to see such efforts being moved forward at the state level.”

The reform package includes new limits on the duration of benefits in “permanent partial disability” cases, which have driven New York’s workers’ comp costs to a level that has been some 80 percent above the national average. It also increases the maximum weekly benefits available to injured workers. The new law:

Limits the number of years during which benefits would be available in permanent partial disability cases, which now account for a high percentage of costs in New York’s comp system. The previous law allowed lifetime payment of cash benefits in all such cases. Now, based on current caseloads, it is estimated that benefits will be capped at eight years or less for more than 90 percent of cases. And that the average PPD claimant will get 344 weeks of benefits upon classification.

Increase the maximum weekly benefit for injured workers from $400 to $600 over three years. In the fourth year, the maximum weekly benefit will become two-thirds of the average weekly wage in New York, with the maximum thereafter adjusted annually beginning in the fifth year.

Creates new program designed to help injured workers get workers prompt medical treatment and return to gainful employment.

Creates strong new anti-fraud measures.

Eliminates the Second Injury Fund, which has forces significant recent increases in surcharges that are added to all employers’ workers’ compensation bills.

Continues medical services for workers whose benefits in PPD cases expire would continue.

Provides a “safety net” would be established for cases determined to involve extreme hardship.

In addition, Governor Spitzer has directed the state superintendent of insurance to pursue other key reforms administratively, including the design of an expedited hearing process, implementation of factual medical guidelines to determine accurately the degree of disability in comp cases, the design of new treatment guidelines, the design of new return-to-work initiatives to help injured workers, and new training for administrative law judges who hear workers’ comp cases.

A summary of the law’s key provisions is available at http://www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2007/0305wcsummary.htm

Ever Been Interested in Joining a Committee?

Posted on May 17, 2007

If you have ever wanted to get more involved in the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, now is the time. We invite you to join one or more of the five active Chamber committees. Please contact the Chamber office at 237-0230 if you are interested in serving on any of the following committees:

Legislative Committee:
This committee typically meets 2-3 times per year to identify and support policy or legislative changes to all levels of government that improve the business environment for Wyoming County. This committee works to keep lines of communication open with municipal governments through forums and meetings.

Industry Committee:
This committee meets quarterly at manufacturing facilities throughout the County in order to learn from each other, discuss problems, and develop programs and activities to benefit the County?s industry. The committee also develops seminar and training topics that are of importance to manufacturing companies in the county.

Marketing and Membership Committee:
This committee meets monthly and typically focuses on the following: Website improvements, development of business attraction marketing materials, and providing guidance for activities such as direct mail, public relations, networking opportunities and trade shows. The committee also works on membership recruitment and increasing and improving member benefits.

Small Business Committee:
This committee meets monthly and is responsible for providing workshops and seminars focused on issues or subjects of interest to small businesses. This committee is also responsible for planning networking opportunities, such as Business After Hours and Networking Luncheons and Breakfasts.

Agriculture Committee:
This committee meets quarterly to discuss the Chamber’s Agribusiness Recruitment Initiative. The committee also meets to discuss issues and topics that are relevant to agribusiness in Wyoming County.

Wyoming County Empire Zone

Posted on July 26, 2006

Board established and ready to take applications.

A great deal of progress has been made since Governor Pataki announced an Empire Zone designation for Wyoming County on July 6, 2006. An Empire Zone Administrative Board (EZAB) of nine members has been appointed by the County. They have met on three occasions to conduct organizational activities such as adopting by-laws, gathering funding for the program, revising the development plan for zoned areas and contracting with the Wyoming County Business Center, Inc. (WCBC) for administering the Empire Zone Program. The WCBC is a not for profit local development corporation that was established earlier this year through Wyoming County to serve specific duties such as administering the Empire Zone program, assisting with development of business parks in Wyoming County and becoming the conduit for economic development funding. 

Materials such as maps that will show what parcels are located in the 7 Empire Zoned areas in Wyoming County and an informational fact sheets about the Empire Zone benefits are being put together and will be available soon. These materials will also be used in community outreach presentations later this winter in municipalities where there is Empire Zone acreage. Those communities include the Town and Village of Arcade, Town and Village of Perry, Town and Village of Castile, Town of Gainesville, Village of Silver Springs, Village of Warsaw and the Village of Attica. 

Businesses that are currently located in an Empire Zoned area and have an expansion project in the works that will include capital investment and job creation or retention will have to make application to the local EZAB to see if you qualify for Empire Zone benefits. If you are interested in learning more about the Empire Zone program or think you have a project that may qualify for Empire Zone benefits you are encouraged to call and speak with Jim Pierce at 237-0230.

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