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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2015 Archives > June 2015 > New Director of BETC

New Director Of BETC



Demone Smith to lead efforts to provide career training for city and county residents, meet workforce needs of local employers

June 23, 2015 - Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced the appointment of Demone Smith as the director of the Buffalo Employment and Training Center (BETC) – the agency responsible for workforce development initiatives responsive to the needs of City of Buffalo and Erie County employers and job seekers. This appointment will be effective upon Smith’s resignation from the Buffalo Common Council on Friday, June 26, 2015.

“Demone Smith is a seasoned professional and his 15 plus years of experience working with all levels of government, community members, organizations and city residents will play a key role in forming new partnerships that will further ensure Buffalo’s workforce system meets the needs of our growing economy,” said Mayor Brown.

As executive director, Smith will oversee all aspects of BETC’s workforce development, training and placement system, a critically important position to the City of Buffalo’s overall economic development and job growth plan for Buffalo’s future as a desirable and competitive place to live, work, invest and visit.  With over $5 billion in new economic development activity underway, which is expected to create over 12,000 jobs, Smith is responsible for the oversight of the Buffalo Employment and Training Center (BETC) that brings together a variety of workforce development organizations and partner agencies with a primary goal of working to prepare today’s new workforce in Buffalo for tomorrow’s employment opportunities.

“I am enthusiastic and honored to serve as executive director of BETC,” said Smith. “I share Mayor Brown’s vision to further grow Buffalo into a city of opportunity where everyone can benefit from Buffalo’s job growth by obtaining 21st century skills in expanding sectors of our local economy. I am fully committed to ensuring that every resident has a clear pathway to career-readiness and a good job.”

As Buffalo celebrates its existing strengths in business and employment, it continues to diversify and build on new strengths through emerging technologies, such as healthcare, biosciences and high-tech industries. Smith will help City of Buffalo residents navigate training and job applications and connect qualified candidates to job opportunities in Buffalo and the Buffalo area. 

As a leading public service organization in this community, the BETC recognizes the importance of developing a diverse workforce that reflects the city’s demographics. Smith’s new duties will include:

  • provide for the development and creation of job opportunities within Erie County for Buffalo residents and the training, education and other services needed to enable individuals to secure and retain employment at their maximum capacity;
  • provide unemployed and underemployed persons with transitional employment in jobs providing needed public services due to substantial unemployment and, wherever feasible, related employment and training services to enable such persons to move into employment training within Erie County;
  • provide additional employment services for minorities, women, youth, rehabilitated offenders, persons of limited English speaking ability, older workers and other persons residing in the City of Buffalo who have particular disadvantages in the labor market in Erie County;

A native of Buffalo, Demone A. Smith graduated from Buffalo Public School #69 and Burgard High School.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Wilberforce University, the nation’s oldest private African American University.

He was appointed to the Erie County Legislature in 2003 and elected in January 2004. During his tenure in the Legislature, he was able to help secure a greater share of sales tax revenue for the City of Buffalo, increase funding to inner-city youth and cultural organizations, expand diversity in the workforce of Erie County and re-open the Kensington Bailey Community Center. Smith also served as a chair of the Finance and Management Committee where he was able to help to stabilize Erie County’s billion dollar budget in the wake of the County’s fiscal crisis.

Smith then won election to represent the Masten Council District in 2007, and was overwhelmingly re-elected for two additional terms in 2008 and 2012. As Masten District Council Member, he has been an advocate for economic, social and environmental justice, as well as a fighter for the middle class, working poor and impoverished residents. His legislative accomplishments reflect his advocacy for the safety of our residents, neighborhoods and workplaces; reducing taxes and fairly distributing resources citywide; improved service delivery; and the establishment of partnerships to ensure a fair, responsive and responsible City Government.  He was elected Majority Leader by his colleagues in 2012, where he has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to the prosperity and future of our City. 

Key pieces of legislation Smith passed include: changing the foreclosure process to make it fairer for residents; elimination of foreclosure on water bills; traffic adjudication for the City of Buffalo, allowing the City to adjudicate its own traffic infractions, which will result in millions for the City of Buffalo; “Ban the Box”, an initiative to extend employment opportunities for the formerly incarcerated; the Responsible Tobacco Retailing Act, which has limited the advertising of tobacco products to children and the overabundance of this advertising in neighborhood stores; and the Cold War Veterans Law that assisted veterans in receiving their benefits.  Many of the District’s schools have been rehabilitated, parks revamped and community centers upgraded under Smith’s leadership, and there have been significant increases in monument restorations, as well as street, sidewalk and bridge repairs.

Deeply involved in the community, Smith also serves as Assistant Scout Leader, Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Paramount Lodge and Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association. Formerly, he was the Regional Vice President for Young Democrats of America, the Regional President of Coalition of Black Elected Democrats and a member of Urban League of Young Professionals.  Smith is married and the father of two children.