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A Year of Stabilizing and Transitioning

by Garry Douglas

After 30+ years, I am seeing the thrust of annual challenges and opportunities as almost cyclical. There are the periods dominated by the pursuit of opportunities and then a period of focus on transitions and challenges.

At the Strictly Business Forum in December, I said this year would be one of those latter periods, particularly with regard to the stabilization and sustainability of several institutions crucial to the regional economy and quality of life.

On the colleges front, we need to support ways forward for Clinton Community College and Paul Smith’s College – two of many smaller colleges across the state dealing with reduced enrollment, changing demographics, the overhanging impacts of the pandemic, and campuses that are now large and costly. In the case of CCC, we now know the way forward, but all must support the final plans which will be developed and then their implementation. The opportunity exists for a community college that will be able to provide its programs for decades to come.

On the medical front, all of our area hospitals are confronting the fiscal strains of rising costs, workforce shortages and an aging population, all the while being determined to sustain the widest possible range of health care services. Advances were recently achieved in Washington with Medicare reimbursement enhancements and Acute Care status for Alice Hyde. These measures are important, but not a panacea for overall continuing challenges.

Other longstanding institutions in the North Country are also facing challenges of financial sustainability. We are working to assist a couple which I cannot reference but which are important assets we must sustain.

It is the responsibility of the Chamber to answer calls for appropriate support and assistance in each instance, representing the interests of the business community and regional economy and leveraging our networks and abilities in areas such as government affairs. And so, the seeming cycle continues and the year of stabilizing and transitioning is fully underway.

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