Guy Ciarrocchi, president and chief executive officer at the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry (CCCBI), attended the Chester County Planning Commission’s board meeting on February 13th and discussed the role of his organization and its partnership with the county.
The 27-year-old CCCBI acts as a convener and connector in the county in order to effectively serve as our region’s public policy advocate for job creation and economic development issues, according to Ciarrocchi. The organization, which has over 800 members, focuses its mission on three central pillars: advocacy, education, and engagement and works with organizations throughout the county, including the Chester County Planning Commission, the Chester County Economic Development Council, and the eight community-based chambers of commerce.
The agency has been very involved with tax reform over the years along with state and local issues, such as VISTA2025, a Chester County public-private partnership effort that is focused on creating and implementing an economic development strategy for the county. Ciarrocchi, who served as a member of the Landscapes3 Steering Committee, said his organization has worked on issues involving the Paoli train station, Route 30 Bypass, Route 202, revitalization of Coatesville, and the mushroom industry in the Kennett area.
The agency’s two primary goals for 2019 and 2020 are workforce development and GrowPA. When it comes to workforce development, the CCCBI wants to ensure educators, employers, students, parents, and job-seekers are working together. While the unemployment rate in Chester County is below the national average, there are more job openings than job-seekers but employers don’t necessarily have positions that fit these people’s skillsets.
The CCCBI has taken a leading role in a coalition of partners committed to growing Pennsylvania’s economy, GrowPA. The state does have many assets, such as more universities per capita than any state; the finest hospitals in the nation (including a successful bio-pharma community in Chester County, Lehigh Valley, and Pittsburgh); access to much of the nation’s population, and vibrant international airports and ports, according to Ciarrocchi. However, the coalition is working to address three troubling trends in Pennsylvania, including the economic output ranking, the unemployment rate, and a stagnant population. As a result, the state has two fiscal challenges: limited revenue growth and an undue strain on the safety-net, he said.
The CCCBI has been working on GrowPA with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber, the Allegheny Conference, the Pennsylvania Chamber, and other business organizations and partners for about two years. Ciarrocchi said the coalition is hoping there will be legislation for this initiative this spring along with a statewide kickoff that focuses on three areas: infrastructure, health care, and higher education. Those wishing to help are encouraged to contact CCCBI.