Borrello: County’s Image Key To Future Success

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello says the image of Chautauqua County isn’t as good as it should be, and that the county has much to offer to attract employees and new residents.
“Our problem is not (that) we need more jobs, our problem is we need a skilled workforce and we need to improve our image so we can attract people from outside the area to come and live here, and those are problems you can fix,” Borrello told WNYNewsNow.
Borrello said the problems are solvable because businesses are not failing, just needing a stronger skilled set of workers.
“If businesses were saying ‘We’re struggling, we’re ready to close we can’t survive here’, that’s a tough challenge. If people say ‘I’m busy. I’d like to do more business but I can’t because I need people’  that’s a challenge we can address,” Borrello stated.
Borrello says the resurgence of Buffalo is a prime example of what a community can do if it wants to.
“You look at Buffalo right now. People are coming back to Buffalo, kids are staying and, to me, that’s encouraging because if they can do that there, we can do it here,” he said. “We have more assets to offer really, natural assets. One good thing about this millennial age group, which is a broad group, a large group, they’re much into the quality of life. They very much want a good work-life balance and we can offer that here, so those are things we need to talk about.”
Compared to other areas of the state, region and nation, Chautauqua County offers some unique opportunities, Borrello said.
“You can live on or near a body of water very affordably in Chautauqua County. We have hundreds of miles of trails, we have bike trails, horse trails, hiking trails we have so many great things to offer right outside your door. Also we’re in a great regional location. Even though we’re a rural location, we’re not far from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toronto. We’ve got to talk about those things,” he said. “We do take it for granted.”
“One of the great benefits I have is I travel a lot. I traveled in my job for 27 years. I traveled all across the United States and beyond and we don’t realize how good we’ve got it here,” Borrello said. “I’ve traveled to the mid-west, which is very nice, but there are parts of the mid-west that are flat, flat, flat. You can watch your dog run away for two days. We take it for granted the rolling hills that we have, the lush greenery. We don’t realize sometimes how good we’ve got it so we need to share that.”
The first key to improving the county’s image is self-confidence and an appreciation for our area, he said.
“First of all, we have to have confidence in ourselves. We lack self-confidence and how can we expect people to be confident in us if we don’t have  confidence in ourselves? How can we expect people to believe in us if we don’t believe in ourselves,” Borrello said. “Then we have to share that excitement. Everybody has to be a great ambassador for Chautauqua County, and that means telling people about the great things that are here, telling them about our rich history but also what there is here now.”
“That’s another problem, we like to talk about what used to be here, what used to happen but there are great things happening here now. We have to share that story and in turn that will get people excited about living here, working here, visiting here, raising a family here and if we can share that excitement, that enthusiasm, that confidence I know we can achieve those things here,” Borrello said.
“We sometimes try to compare ourselves to other areas in a negative way and the reality is we have a lot beautiful natural assets and a strategic location.”
In his travels, Borrello said he meets plenty of people who moved away but would like to return home to Chautauqua County.
“I met so many people from Western New York. So many people who grew up here, so many people who went to college here and you always make a connection with somebody when you travel, most of those people who would love to come back here,” he said. “The grass is always greener on the other side, when you talk with people who have lived elsewhere and recall what it was like to grow up here, most of those people would like to come back here and we just have to harness that as much as possible and share with them that there are opportunities here.”
Also key, is connecting with people with the kind of skills needed in the area workforce, he explained.
“First and foremost, we have to do a better job of communicating and networking. There are people out there with the skills. Match the folks that have the skills with the people who have openings. We have to develop a better public relations campaign for Chautauqua County. Part of the problem is when you Google Jamestown, when you Google Dunkirk, when you Google Chautauqua County, good things don’t come up, so we have to do a better job of controlling the narrative as other places have done. There is not anywhere in the United States that doesn’t have its black marks,” he said.