The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce our Sustainable Success Award Winners in Otsego County. This year’s winners are:
- Oneonta Job Corps Academy as the recipient of the NBT Bank, Quality of Life Award in recognition of their programs and services. Oneonta Job Corps Academy (OJCA), opened in 1980 and is now one of the 126 Job Corps centers found around the country that offers dozens of different vocational opportunities to under-privilege youth ages 16 to 24 years of age, along with individuals with disabilities. The Oneonta Job Corps Academy hosts nine traditional trades in three different clusters: Medical (Clinical Medical Assistant, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Medical Admin Assistant); Automotive (Auto Technician and Auto Collision and Repair); Construction (Electrical, Facility Maintenance, Cement Masonry, and Tile Setting). In addition to these nine initial trades, OJCA is also home to the SMART Grid Advanced Training program that includes Overhead Lineman, Underground Residential Distribution, and Smart Meter and Instrumentation Technician. OJCA continues to be more and more involved in the community. First and foremost, it is a source of employment for nearly 150 people living within the local region. Both staff and students have performed thousands of hours of community service across the region including helping with parking for community events, assisting at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter, the Salvation Army Sunday Meal with a Message, Art Festivals, and so much more. OJCA was involved with the Oneonta Airport project, a two-year renovation project that incorporated the use of about half a dozen trades, including Facility Maintenance, Cement Mason, and Electrical. OJCA has hosted or co-hosts community events such as that Annual OJCA Community Ballgame every August complete with free admission, contests, prizes, and of course …fireworks! Most recently Oneonta Job Corps in partnership with Hudson Valley Community College, SkyOp, and the Oneonta Municipal Airport, is offering an exciting new Advanced Training program for Drone Pilot. Ten students will prepare for the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot exam to become a licensed commercial drone pilot.
- The Otsego County Conservation Association the recipient of the NBT Insurance Agency Environmental Stewardship Award of The Otsego County Chamber. This award honors the Otsego County Conservation for enhancing Otsego County’s environment through protection of its land and waters. The Otsego County Conservation (OCCA) was formed in 1968 by a group of citizens interested in protecting forest resources and the rural nature of Otsego County. Their current mission is to promote the appreciation and sustainable use of natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. Since their humble beginnings, OCCA’s focus has grown into areas of conservation that are important to, and involve, local citizens. OCCA’s largest focus area is education and outreach where they engage local citizens through free and open to the public outdoor and lecture environmental education programs, volunteer-based citizen monitoring, and organize two large environmental education events for the county (Earth Festival and Lakes Festival). They also help to preserve natural resources through their research and management efforts including water quality and watershed assessments, and invasive species eradication programs. Additionally, they are active in land-use planning with their Circuit Rider Planner program, which offers low or no cost planning expertise to local jurisdictions to help better manage their land- use challenges. At OCCA they pride themselves on their scientific background and for their ability to work with a diverse group. Some of their successes over the past 50 years include:
- Recycling Programs:
- OCCA was instrumental in helping Otsego County start the county-wide recycling program. In 1973, OCCA started the first glass recycling in partnership with the Cooperstown League of Conservation Voters which expanded to accept aluminum. This center stayed in operation until 1988.
- Since the mid-1990’s, OCCA has been working with Otsego County and various local jurisdictions to help set up, promote, and educate the public on the importance of recycling. In the early 2000’s, OCCA partnered with the Village of Cooperstown to purchase and set up recycling containers in the village. Their recycling committee is still active in lobbying for recycling in the county and are active at the monthly Solid Waste and Environmental Concerns Committee (County Board sub-committee). They are currently partnering with the OC Soil and Water Conservation District to administer the Agricultural Plastics Recycling program, working with local partners to determine the feasibility of Styrofoam recycling, collect “hard-to-get-rid-of” recyclables at Earth Festival, and coordinate volunteers for Household Hazardous Waste Day.
Our award winners are assets to Otsego County, truly meet the criteria for “Sustainable Success” and have made a positive impact on the lives of Otsego County residents. The award winners will be honored at the Chamber’s Summer Soiree that will be held on Thursday, July 19, 2018 at Oneonta Municipal Airport. Cocktail reception begins at 5:45 p.m. followed by dinner and award ceremony. I look forward to celebrating the successes of the honorees at our summer soiree. To share with our members new approaches to sustainability and to promote pioneering examples of excellence is ultimately a great way to share county wide best practices and success based on results.
Thank you to our members for your contributions to Otsego County.