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Great Batavia Train Show and RR Modelers Meet April 14

By Press Release
Submitted photo.

Press Release:

The Genesee Society of Model Engineers will host the 104th “Great Batavia Train Sale” along with the “Batavia Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet” on Sunday, April 14, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., at the Richard C. Call Arena, Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for under 18 years old, and free for children under 13 years old.

The popular train show typically attracts 1,200 to 1,500 model railroad enthusiasts and railfans from across Western and Central NY, Northwestern Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. There are over 100 vendors occupying 250 tables offering merchandise ranging from antique railroad artifacts to the most modern digitally controlled model trains. This bi-annual show has steadily grown to become one of the premiere events of its kind in Western New York.

The train club hosts two shows each year, a Spring show, and a Fall show. A free Open House is held, typically, on the first Saturday of December at the Club’s facilities in Oakfield where club members maintain operating layouts in O Gauge (Lionel), HO & N scale.

The Genesee Society of Model Engineers is located at 50 Main Street (Rte. 63), Oakfield (above the M&T Bank), and is open Tuesdays from 7 - 9 p.m. Business meetings are held the last Tuesday of each month. Visit Like us on Facebook. Visitors are welcome (Stair access only).

'First-round draft picks' celebrated on signing day for apprenticeships at local companies

By Steve Ognibene
Students from all over the Genesee Region in attendance of signing day.  Photo by Steve Ognibene.
Students from all over the Genesee Region in attendance of signing day Tuesday.
Photo by Steve Ognibene

The students matched with apprenticeship programs from local companies are all "first-round draft picks," said Chris Souzzi, VP of business and workforce development for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, on Tuesday at a signing celebration.

The event was held at the Best Center on the campus of Genesee Community College to celebrate high school juniors and seniors participating in the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeships Program.

The participants are first-round picks, Souzzi said, "because they really are great prospects for our future."

Juniors in the program engage in job shadows, and seniors are eligible for paid co-op apprenticeships with participating companies.

Matches were announced Tuesday for more than 30 students and 10 companies from the region.

“The Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program is proud to connect students from the Batavia BOCES’ electro-mechanical and metal trades programs to advanced manufacturing companies for paid co-ops and job shadows,” said Rich Turner, RTMA Director of Workforce Development. “Through FLYAP, high school juniors and seniors are receiving real on-the-job experience paired with state-of-the-art classroom training which prepares them for in-demand careers in advanced manufacturing.”

The Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program was created in 2018 by the Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association (RTMA) in partnership with Monroe Community College (MCC). The program is the first of its kind in New York State and is supported by the RTMA, MCC, RG&E Foundation and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The Genesee County Economic Development Center is also a FLYAP Gold Sponsor and assists the program with business recruitment.

In its fifth school year, FLYAP has connected more than 650 students to nearly 150 businesses throughout the greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region.  FLYAP students have also received credit for more than 500 college classes at no cost to them, their schools or their families.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene

Emma Spink of Attica  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Emma Spink of Attica.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Easton Willis of Oakfield Alabama with Oxbo representative.  Photo by Steve Ognibene
Notre Dame
Brody Warner of Notre-Dame Batavia with representative Gorbel.   Photo by Steve Ognibene
Brody Warner of Notre Dame Batavia with Gorbel representative.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Jaxson Delpriore of LeRoy with McCabe Electric representative   Photo by Steve Ognibene
Jaxson Delpriore of LeRoy with McCabe Electric representative.
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Hayman Hendrik to be signed for Protech   Photo by Steve Ognibene
Hayman Hendrik to be signed for Protech. 
Photo by Steve Ognibene
Representatives from various job placement sites in Genesee County   Photo by Steve Ognibene
Representatives from various job placement sites in Genesee County.   
Photo by Steve Ognibene

Encore gala returns for 31st season to spread 'White Christmas' cheer

By Howard B. Owens
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Genesee Community College Foundation hosted its 31st season of Encore on Friday in the Stuart Steiner Forum.

The gala, sponsored by Tompkins Financial, helps the foundation raise money to support student scholarships.

This year's co-chairs were Jeremy and Sandra Liles. The theme of the event took its inspiration from the 1954 classic holiday film, "White Christmas." 

Genesee Symphony Orchestra performed a selection of holiday favorites.

Jeremy Liles is a native of Genesee County, the owner of Oliver's Candies and Sweet Life Group, its parent organization, and has managed Oliver's Candies for over 20 years. Jeremy is actively involved in his local community and currently serves on the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and has served on the Batavia Town Planning Board. Sandra is a New Hampshire native who moved to Genesee County in 2005. 

Sandra opened Sweet Life Country Store in Elba and has managed the operation for the past five years. She says she enjoys working with many different local product vendors and artisans to make their wares available to the public at this store, as well as partnering with other local businesses to benefit the community. Jeremy and Sandra reside in Batavia with Tahlia, the youngest of their three children.

These photos capture the cocktail hour and dinner service. The Batavian anticipates further coverage on Monday.

gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
State Sen. George Borrello and Jeremy Liles, co-chair of the gala.
Photo by Howard Owens.
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Batavia resident and local small business owner Diana Kastenbaum.
Photo by Howard Owens.
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Toby and Charlie Cook.  Charlie Cook is chairman of the board of Liberty Pumps in Bergen.
Photo by Howard Owens.
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Jim Sunser, the soon-to-be-retired president of GCC.
Photo by Howard Owens.
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Joann Hayes, Bill Hayes, and Paul Saskowski.  
Photo by Howard Owens.
encore 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Laura Taylor, a fashion instructor at GCC, shows off one of the dresses designed to display at the gala to help capture the theme of the movie "White Christmas."
Photo by Howard Owens.
gcc foundation 31st encore 2023
Peter Wybron displays one of the dresses designed for the gala.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Richard Bannister's gallery exhibition opens September 14

By Press Release
Photo of Egyptian Fish God, Slave Girl, and Angry King (carved black marble) by Richard Bannister courtesy of

Press Release:

The Rosalie "Roz" Steiner Art Gallery is kicking off its 2023-2024 exhibition season with a solo show by local sculpture artist, Richard Bannister. Richard's sculptures are one-of-a-kind, unique works of art. He is a master of sculpting in wood, metal, and stone. He completes all the work on his art, by himself, in his studio.

Opening receptions for "Man's Struggle with the Gods: Sculptures by Richard Bannister" will be on September 14 from 12:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. and 5 - 7 p.m. with an artist presentation at 12:30 p.m. in the Roz Steiner Gallery.

About his artistic process, Richard says: "I now consider that the ability to create my works of art is a gift from God. However, I didn't always believe this. For years in my early studio in San Miguel, I believed that man could only destroy. I believed anyone could do what I did. All they had to do was take the time and carve a sculpture from a block of wood or marble or make an armature and apply clay for the beginnings of a bronze sculpture. I do not sketch before starting a sculpture, I simply grab a tool and begin the work. During the process of seeing a piece of art come into existence, I receive fulfillment. Because of my various procedures, materials and tools I am usually working on ten or so pieces at once. I can flow from piece to piece and pick up hours, days, or months later exactly where I left off. This is a rare blessing indeed."

Richard Bannister has had a long and storied career that has made him the artist he is today. He managed a farm with his identical twin brother at the age of 14, fought in the Vietnam War, studied at many different colleges, and gained his BFA & MFA. He also taught and headed the sculpture department at San Miguel de Allende, traveled the world lived in foreign countries, and exhibited his artwork internationally. Bannister has raised a family, written manuscripts, explored different entrepreneurial avenues, and holds a Bachelor of Theology from RBI in Tampa, Florida. His dream is to set up an art park on his 16 acres of land. His proudest achievements are his 3 children.

Richard's exhibition at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery will focus on his marble carvings, wood sculpture, and cast bronze. As an instructor in higher education, Richard developed courses discussing man's experiences with gods, demons, spirits, and other folkloric elements. Many of the pieces in his current show are a result of that line of thought. He aims to spark discussion of the things we cannot see; some of his artwork takes inspiration from Biblical tales like his sculpture Eve and the Tempterwho tempted who? (made of walnut), and Angel with the Gods (carved of black marble). Richard pulls insight from the religion of ancient Egypt and Buddhism, such as Baby Buddha (made of red oak and walnut), Egyptian Fish God, Slave Girl, and Angry King (carved black marble), which is the sculpture we are using to promote the exhibition.

Mr. Bannister has written eight manuscripts throughout his career, which form the series "My struggle with the Gods." The written saga is titled from the marble carving series that he is presently working on, "Man's struggle with the Gods". At his artist talk, Richard Bannister will discuss the inspiration behind his sculptures, and his creative process, and pull from his college courses to prompt discussion.

Roz Steiner gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 3 - 5 p.m. The gallery is also open on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Any changes to the gallery hours will be posted on the gallery's social media pages

GCC history club announces Historical Horizons lecture series for fall 2023

By Press Release
Submitted photo of the Historical Horizons Speakers, 
courtesy of Genesee Community College

Press Release:

The Genesee Community College History Club is excited to announce the Historical Horizons Lecture Series schedule for the Fall 2023 semester. The series will kick off Wednesday, September 6, 2023, with Dr. Cari Casteel discussing "A Better Mousetrap for Your Armpit: The Cultural Evolution of Deodorant."

As of 2023, over 90% of men and women in the United States apply a deodorant or an antiperspirant about 6-7 times a week and some more than that. The store shelves are filled with a dizzying array of applications and scents. Before the 1950s, deodorants only came in two forms-liquid and cream. By the 1960s, the choices seemed endless.

In the years following the Second World War, the deodorant market underwent a period of rapid technological innovation. With the market at near saturation, technology and innovation had become the way to win consumers. New application methods including roll-ons, sprays and sticks filled the shelves. These new deodorants drove many consumers to frequently switch brands, opting for the newest, most modern product. This made it possible for an innovative deodorant to go from nonexistent to the market leader in a matter of months. Deodorant makers found themselves locked in a constant struggle to-in the words of an English Leather deodorant ad- "build a better mousetrap" for the armpit.

Wednesday, October 4 - Harold Knudsen, Lt. Colonel, US Army (retired)

James Longstreet and the American Civil War: The Confederate General Who Fought the Next War

The American Civil War is often called the first "modern war." Sandwiched between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I, it spawned a host of "firsts" and is considered a precursor to the larger and more deadly 20th century wars. Confederate Gen. James Longstreet made overlooked but profound modern contributions to the art of war. Retired Lt. Col. Harold M. Knudsen explains what Longstreet did and how he did it in James Longstreet and the American Civil War: The Confederate General Who Fought the Next War.

This book draws heavily upon 20th century U.S. Army doctrine, field training, staff planning, command and combat experience, and is the first serious treatment of Longstreet's generalship vis-a-vis modern warfare. Not everyone will agree with Knudsen's conclusions, but it will now be impossible to write about the general without referencing this important study.

Wednesday, November 1 - Derek Maxfield, Assoc. Professor of History, GCC

"The Victorians and Spiritualism"

Americans in the 19th century were increasingly drawn to the idea that it was possible to communicate with the dead beyond the grave. The Victorians, in particular, already romanticized death and sought to make the rituals surrounding it more attuned to their own values. They embraced the idea of a heavenly reunion in heaven and found solace in being able to communicate with lost loved ones through seances and other mediums. Many of the devices the Victorians created to deal with death stick with us today and have modern relevance.

Wednesday, December 6 - Dr. Aaron Sachs, Professor of History, Cornell University

Stay Cool: Why Dark Comedy Matters in the Fight Against Climate Change

We've all seen the headlines: oceans rising, historic heat waves, mass extinctions, climate refugees. It feels overwhelming, like nothing can make a difference in combating this ongoing global catastrophe. How can we mobilize to save the world when we feel this depressed?

Stay Cool enjoins us to laugh our way forward. Human beings have used comedy to cope with difficult realities since the beginning of recorded timethe more dismal the news, the darker the humor. Using this rich tradition of dark comedy to investigate climate change, Aaron Sachs makes the case that gallows humor, a mainstay of African Americans and Jews facing extraordinary oppression, can cultivate endurance, persistence and solidarity in the face of calamity.

Environmentalism is probably the least funny social movement that's ever existed. Stay Cool seeks to change that. Will comedy save the world? Not by itself, no. But it can put people in a decent enough mood to get them started on a rescue mission.

All events begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia Campus. Events are FREE and open to the public.

Le Roy Auxiliary member Klaiber guest speaker at Empire Girls State

By Press Release
Submitted photo of Kathleen McCann Klaiber speaking at opening ceremonies at Empire Girls State.

Press Release:

On July 2 Kathleen McCann Klaiber served as a guest speaker during the opening ceremonies at this year's Empire Girls State hosted at Brockport College. Klaiber also trained staff on the subject of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Approximately 300 people attended the ceremonies.

Klaiber is an American Legion Auxiliary Botts-Fiorito Unit 576 of LeRoy member and a professor at GCC. Klaiber is also an alumna of Girls State along with her daughter Maureen. 

GCC's Sunser announces retirement

By Howard B. Owens
jim sunser
GCC President Jim Sunser during the college's 2023 commencement.
Photo  by Howard Owens

Press release:

After more than a decade of leadership and service to the institution, Genesee Community College President, Dr. James Sunser, announced that he intends to retire at the conclusion of the 2023-24 academic year.

In a personal message, Sunser informed the campus community and thanked colleagues for being partners in always holding student success as the highest priority.

"My time at Genesee has represented some of the most rewarding of my long professional career in higher education," said Sunser. "I have been honored to serve a dedicated board of trustees, faculty and staff that always put students and their success at the center of every decision. I could not have asked for more, and I will leave with a heart filled with gratitude. I want to thank the entire GCC community for the support and friendship you have offered me over so many years."

During his time leading GCC, Sunser oversaw the development of the Richard C. Call Arena and the Student Success Center, capital projects that represented the largest fundraising efforts ever undertaken by the College. He also provided leadership during the historic COVID-19 pandemic that drastically altered the delivery of services, never wavering from the commitment to putting students first.

Prior to his service at GCC, Sunser held several senior-level positions at SUNY Onondaga Community College over a 22-year period. In addition, he served five years as an administrator at Syracuse University. He currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Middle State Commission on Higher Education's Executive Committee, where he previously served two terms as Chair in 2020 and 2021.

In the coming months, the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees will launch a comprehensive search for the next campus president.

Advice to 2023 grads: Put down the social media and get involved to make a difference

By Joanne Beck
Ben Bonorigo GCC graduation
Ben Bonarigo, a retired attorney from Batavia, who, as a graduate of GCC, was the first member of his family with a college degree, was the keynote speaker for Genesee Community College's graduation ceremony on Saturday in the Call Arena. "Once a Cougar, always a Cougar," Bonarigo said at the end of his speech, donning a Cougar baseball cap.
Photo by Howard Owens

Get off the couch, put down the phone and get out of the house to make a difference in the world. Some rudimentary but important words of wisdom from this year’s commencement speaker for Genesee Community College’s Class of 2023 this weekend. 

As keynote speaker, retired attorney and GCC alum Benjamin Bonarigo mused about how and what one can say to this generation of graduates full of excitement and possible angst about how to storm the life before them and make a worthwhile impact.

After all, Bonarigo’s mom accepted his early decision to return home after one college semester, due to family circumstances, with the admonishment to continue his education. Her words were understanding but moving, to the point that her son eventually fulfilled his promise to carry on with his schooling as a first-generation college student, graduating first from GCC in 1977. 

For the next four years, he studied at the State University of New York at Buffalo, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in business management in 1979 and then his Juris Doctorate in 1982.

So he knows that words matter. And Bonarigo listened not only to what his mom said, but knew that she “recognized the importance of education, even though hers was limited,” he said.

“I’m so grateful to her and to GCC because she provided the direction and GCC the foundation for me to continue up the educational ladder. I wouldn't be standing here without both of them in my life. For those of us here, like myself, who lived a good portion of our lives. I know what you may be thinking, as I am, that we should be using our life experiences to direct these graduates like my own mother did to tell them what to do, how to do it, and what to look out for along the journey to come,” Bonarigo said during the 55th annual commencement ceremony at the Richard C. Call Arena in Batavia. “After all, who better to lay out a plan for them than those of us who have been through many of life's ups and downs and who have had to face many of life's challenges. No doubt.

“We have an obligation to help them down life's winding pathway. But my question to all of us here today is, do we have that right? Our world has made tremendous advances in our lifetime. We can fly rocket ships to Mars with regularity. A driverless car can chauffeur us anywhere we want to go,” he said. “Almost all of us have in our pockets that computer that we use to research to buy anything in a day or to call, text or do math, or email anyone in the world. It's been said before, and most would agree, that we live a more affluent lifestyle than generations before us.”

He added that, despite all of those remarkable developments, “We leave this generation with several problems,” such as mental health issues, dramatically increased suicide rates over the last decade, and unyielding spikes in drug addiction.

“Even with all the affluence and wealth we have acquired, social unrest is out of control, and the politics of the day just adds fuel to the fire,” he said. “People are dying all over this world, for reasons that none of us can really comprehend. And that's just the shortlist. As we look at this, are we really in the best position to lay out the plan for these folks? What has become clear to those of us who have lived long enough is that material things don't bring us true happiness.

In fact, those of us like me who have seen the sun rise thousands of times, are desperately trying to get rid of stuff that in earlier days meant so much to us. We have lived the dream of chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Are we really better off for it? Are we fulfilled by our success and acquiring things?” he said. “Graduates, would you believe us if we told you that unless you have a higher purpose in life than acquiring worldly goods, you may be unfulfilled in this life? This seems contrary to everything that you've been taught, which is to be like PacMan, acquiring everything that comes your way.”

He quoted England’s late Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Dr. James Sunset, GCC’s president, talked about “what we give” — more specifically, about what those on campus have given to students by their very own accounts. Graduates have shared with him how parents, family, friends and others have helped along on their educational journey, and he asked for a round of applause to thank them all on this culminating day of all efforts. But they weren’t the only ones, he said.

“You've also told me about another group of strong supporters that have helped you along the way, that pushed you and challenged you and encouraged you to achieve your best,” Sunser said. “They're the faculty and staff of the college. They believe in you and were willing to give you the best they had by sharing their knowledge, and especially their time.”

It’s about taking a stance to care that matters, Bonarigo said. Not being involved breeds indifference, he said, pointing to the big picture of life.

“Indifference to the greatest democracy in the world occurs when we don't feel our vote is worthwhile. When we feel it is more comfortable to complain about the way things are run, than to make a difference by running them ourselves,” he said. “So I say to you, get off social media, get off the couch, get out of the house, make a difference in this world, do the things that we may not have been so good at. Maybe, ladies and gentlemen, our problems are not as great as I make them out to be today.

“I’ve taken a very close look and studied these graduates. And they're actually smarter and more aware than we ever were. They are energetic and bright. This will allow them to recognize easily our shortcomings and failures. I see in them a strength, a commitment and resolve to seek a better way forward to see the need to live in peace and harmony, not only with their neighbors, but all the people of the world,” he said. “They will find a way to smooth out the bumps in the path that we leave behind with their intelligence, hard work and ability to give more of themselves than we ever did. 

"My hope is that we can all live long enough to see and appreciate the differences that they will make. Let me take this final moment to tell these graduates something we all believe and that we know we have a right to say: that we are also very proud of you and how much we believe in you, and the future you will create.”

Bonargio has been a well-worn name in this area, Batavia especially, having founded Bonarigo and McCutcheon Law Firm 40 years ago, and also previously working as an attorney for the city and town of Batavia and village of Oakfield, president of Genesee County Bar Association and several other professional and civic involvements, including Batavia youth football, Holland Land Office Museum, Paolo Busti Cultural Foundation, Literacy Volunteers, and Little League Baseball.

Adhering to the motto "Once a Cougar, always a Cougar," he ended his speech with those words and firmly placed a GCC Cougar-themed baseball cap on his head. 

To view more than 60 photos from GCC's commencement ceremony on Saturday, click here.

GCC graduation
Alex M. Maldonado earned a degree in digital art.
Photo by Howard Owens
GCC graduation
Molly Snyder received a degree in fashion business
Photo by Howard Owens
GCC graduation
Photo by Howard Owens
GCC graduation
Melanie Diaz-Negron earned a degree in nursing.
Photo by Howard Owens.
GCC graduation
Photo by Howard Owens
GCC graduation
Photo by Howard Owens
GCC graduation
Photo by Howard Owens
GCC graduation
Photo by Howard Owens

Developer promises upscale, market-rate apartments for complex next to GCC

By Howard B. Owens
david mazur
Developer David Mazur fields questions from the Genesee County Planning Board about Countryside Apartments, the 80-unit complex he is proposing for the Medtech Park by GCC. 
Photo by Howard Owens

Developer David Mazur said he's been building apartment complexes and running the ones he builds for 18 years.  He has a formula. He knows it works. And he knows the type of tenants he expects to be attracted to his units.

With that experience, he's sure the 80-unit complex he is proposing for Medtech Park by GCC will be market rate, with rents ranging from $1,350 to $1,895 per month (that rate could be as much five percent higher once construction is done, he said).

To qualify for a rental agreement, tenants must have a job, if not retired, and a monthly income of 3.5 times the monthly rental rate.

That rules out college students as potential tenants, he said, and parents can't co-sign for a child. Whoever signs the rental agreement must live in the apartment, he told the Genesee County Planning Board at Thursday's meeting.

After his presentation, when told that other developers have promised market-rate complexes only to change the terms during construction, he said he's 100 percent certain that won't be the case with his development.

"I have never had a project go a different direction other than market-rate," Mazur told The Batavian ."So I'm not sure what happened in the past with other developers or what their performers were, what their plans were, but this is 100 percent designed to be market rate."

The Grand Island-based developer said in his other projects, 60 percent of his tenants are seniors, sometimes retires, with the balance being working professionals.  The seniors, especially, he said, are looking for and demand quality units.

"(Countertops are) either gonna be quartz or granite," Mazur said. "All the finishes are higher end. That's where go back to, like I said, retirees because it's 60 percent of my base at other locations. They want it. They want just new, fresh, crisp places. Some have never lived anything brand new. They look at it, like, I want it, this is what I'm going to live in."

There will be 60 garages for the 80 units, with outdoor parking available for the rest.  

Amenities will include a dog park, and the complex is pet friendly, with some restrictions on dog sizes.  Tenants in apartments with shared hallways are limited to smaller dogs, less than 30 pounds.  The townhouse apartments will have a bit more flexibility, he said.

When Mazur found out the Medtech land was available for development, he said he saw an opportunity to do what he's done successfully in places like Grand Island and Tonawanda -- to build a complex for people that want to be close to a city center -- such as Batavia -- while taking in the country air.

"That's our portfolio," Mazur said. "It's full of what I call country or township apartments. When I found the parcel was available, to me, it made sense. You're a stone's throw from the action downtown. And, you know where the property's sitting -- we can't promise what's going to happen in the future, what else is going to be built there, but right now, it's farmland. So it's gonna be a nice setting for people to have the dog park, walking areas, things like that." 

He said he hasn't investigated bus routes in the area but said that most people moving into market-rate apartments own a vehicle. 

The plan calls for six 12-unit buildings and one eight-unit building with 24 three-bedroom apartments, 42 two-bedroom, and 14 one-bedroom, with 36 single-car detached garages.

The total project cost is expected to exceed $12 million.

Jim Krencik, senior director for marketing and communication for the Genesee Economic Development Center, said the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation, an adjunct to GCCEDC, approved a sale agreement for Mazur to acquire the 14 acres for the proposed development in December for $200,000.

"With the support of the Town of Batavia, City of Batavia, and GCEDC, we're pleased to see Countryside Apartments moving forward," Krencik said. "This project enhances our market-rate housing stock and can accelerate our Batavia Home Fund to support future residential improvements in the city."

The Batavia Home Fund collects revenue from developments and makes the funds available for rehabilitation and similar projects for residential homes in Batavia. 

Krencik said the Countryside development is eligible to contribute to that fund but not draw from it.  

Mazur said he doesn't know yet if he will apply to GCEDC for any potential project assistance.  It's early in the planning process, he said, "and that's putting the cart before the horse."

Based on his previous experience, Mazur said he believes he won't have an issue filling all 80 units once the project is complete.

"Like I said, we've been in the business  now for about 18 years, and I've had people with me that have been there the whole 18 years. So, again, the style of buildings that we're building, we build the same buildings in different townships, we already know our cost structure, we know our problems, and we tweak the issues from the first project to the second project. We may change color, and it will be different for different townships, but really, it's a process that works for us. And it takes a lot of the risk out of the game."

Previously: Apartment complex with 80 units proposed across the road from GCC

GCEDC's Hyde drops hints in remarks to regional economic team of new projects coming

By Howard B. Owens
steve hyde
Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, speaks to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council at its meeting at GCC on Wednesday.
Photo by Howard Owens

Remember in 2011 when we all had fun trying to guess the coded meaning of "Project Wave?"

Now we get to do it again.  What is "Project Vulcan?"

Speaking to members of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Steve Hyde, CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center, said, "We've got a lot going on. We're on the short list for two more projects that are another 700 jobs. I just saw yesterday a term sheet for Project Vulcan."

A reporter standing next to Jim Krencik, senior director for marketing and communications for GCEDC, at the time Hyde mentioned Project Vulcan couldn't get him to drop any further hints about what that phrase might mean.

In 2011, "Project Wave" turned out to be the yogurt plant developed by PepsiCo (the "wave") and the Theo Muller Group.  That business eventually failed, but the plant now employs 400 people working for HP Hood.

Hyde was one of the introductory speakers before the council got down to business (The Batavian didn't stick around for that part of the meeting) that included an update from Executive Director Laura Fox O'Sullivan, a presentation on workforce development priorities, regional talent attraction strategies, a board discussion and development of a work plan.

One of the themes both Hyde and Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein shared was the need for state officials to become better aligned with economic development.

New York is a challenging state because of regulatory schemes to attract businesses, Hyde said.

"Building mega site industrial parks is difficult, challenging," Hyde said. "Employers and investors need support from the state. There is a critical misalignment right now between some of our regulatory agencies in the state and then the governor's economic development goals and strategy.  ... We need to find a way to find a solution to the common good to be partners, to be collaborative in the support of our state strategy and our regional strategy."

Stein, a dairy farm owner in Le Roy, said there is more demand than ever for New York's milk, especially with yesterday's announcement of the fairlife plant planned for the Town of Webster, but the state's continuing regulatory burden on farmers and their workers, such as the recently changed overtime threshold, and the proliferation of solar farms on farmland, is hampering the ability of New York dairy farmers to meet the demand.

She compared the misalignment between competing political forces in the state with the goggles you might put on during a visit to the optometrist.  The optometrist will adjust the lenses one at a time to help bring what you see into focus.  Right now, the two sides are out of focus, she said.

"We want to be able to bring ourselves together with good sound economic development," Stein said. "We want to bring in opportunities for our families. We want to bring together all of us to have a shared common message because we certainly have differences. But we can also work from our commonalities."

Hyde praised the Finger Lakes council for being aligned on economic development for the region.

"Our council is completely aligned," Hyde said. "Look at what we're focused on -- site development, workforce development, it all fits into our goals, right? You know, grow jobs, rollout, drive investment, reduce poverty, create opportunity for our families and our residents."

This was the first time the council has met in Genesee Council since before the pandemic.

In an interview with The Batavian before the meeting, former Rochester mayor and former lieutenant governor Robert Duffy praised the work of Hyde.  He said his first meeting after becoming LG was with Hyde to discuss WNY STAMP. 

He called Hyde a "pit bull" on behalf of Genesee County's economic development goals.

"I think in spite of many challenges we all face nowadays, I think the state is doing some great work," Duffy said. "I would say from my perspective, Genesee County is lucky to have Steve Hyde and his team. I've worked with Steve since 2011, and I've been super impressed with his tenacity and his commitment to this. He has never let go of STAMP and STAMP, now, for all those years and all that work, it's really starting to come together and take hold."

Steve Hyde
Steve Hyde during his presentation to the council.
Photo by Howard Owens
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Meeting at GCC
Genesee Community College President James Sunser speaking about the college's efforts to support economic development and workforce development.
Photo by Howard Owens
Shelley Stein
Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein: "We want to be able to bring ourselves together with good sound economic development," Stein said. "We want to bring in opportunities for our families.  We want to bring together all of us to have a shared common message because we certainly have differences. But we can also work from our commonalities."
Photo by Howard Owens
Hyde, Stein, Eugene Jankowski
Genesee County has a seat at the table with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council with Steve Hyde, Shelley Stein, and Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski.
Photo by Howard Owens
Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Meeting at GCC
Photo by Howard Owens

Photos: GCC's 42nd fashion show highlights style trends from the 20s to today

By Howard B. Owens
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It was a big night in the Call Arena at Genesee Community College, with the school hosting its 42nd Annual Fashion Show, featuring the design work of fashion students at the college.

This year's theme was "Ageless." The show celebrated fashion in all its forms and highlights the diversity of style across generations. The show paid tribute to fashion trends throughout the decades from the 1920s to today and beyond, showcasing the talent and creativity and interpretation of GCC's fashion students.

Photos by Nick Serrata.

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Todd Bender named honorary chair for 2023 Cougar Classic

By Press Release


Press Release:

The Genesee Community College Foundation and Cougar Classic Scholarship Scramble Honorary Chairperson, Todd Bender '89, have announced the Annual Cougar Classic Golf Tournament is scheduled for Monday, July 17, 2023 at Stafford Country Club in Stafford.

Bender, a Batavia resident, earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Science from GCC in 1989, and went on to earn an associate degree in Electrical Engineering and a bachelor degree in Business Management and Decision Sciences from RIT. Bender is married to Kathy Bender and is the proud father of three children and spouse/fiance, Ryan & Courtney, Lindsey & Jason and Evan & Savannah. Todd is the co-founder of The Igniter Group, a point in time investment company that holds a number of operating companies within their portfolio. Todd is a serial entrepreneur with several successful start-up companies and acquisitions throughout his career.

A member of the Foundation Board of Directors since 2007, Bender has led the Board as President as well as served on the Housing Corporation Board of Directors and numerous committees. Todd and is wife, Kathy, also chaired Encore, the Foundation's largest annual fundraising event which benefits the GCC scholarship program.

"I am sincerely grateful to Todd for serving as chair for this year's Cougar Classic," remarked Justin Johnston, GCC Foundation Executive Director. "He has supported the Foundation and College and is a proud GCC Alum. Todd's leadership is vital to so many areas of GCC, and I look forward to working with him on this important initiative to raise scholarship funds for our GCC students."

"It is my honor to chair this year's Cougar Classic Golf Tournament", said Bender. "I have been a participant for many years now and really enjoy it. It is well run, held on a beautiful local golf course, there are a lot of community members I see every year and it is always a lot of fun! Most importantly, I am so thankful to help raise money that goes directly into the hands of the students in need at GCC. I look forward to seeing everyone on July 17th!"

The Cougar Classic Scholarship Scramble allows up to 36 foursomes for the 18-hole event at the esteemed Stafford Country Club. Registration includes 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, all beer and nonalcoholic beverages during play, lunch and dinner with a cash bar, and much more!

Most importantly, all proceeds from the Cougar Classic support GCC's student scholarship program, making higher education possible for deserving students in our communities.

Businesses and individuals looking to take advantage of this event's advertising opportunities and lock in sponsorship levels are encouraged to act early as this event sells out quickly! Event details, registration and sponsorship forms are available by contacting the Foundation office at (585) 345-6809 or via email at

For more information or photographs contact Vice President, Development and External Affairs Justin Johnston, at 585-345-6809, or via email:

Photo submitted by GCC. 

Community artists invited to submit works for show at Roz Steiner gallery

By Press Release


Press release:

Who: Calling all artists, sculptors, craftsmen, woodworkers, fiber artists, mixed media artists, photographers, painters, etc.

What: Art installations/gallery exhibitions/group shows for exhibition in the Roz Steiner Art Gallery

Where: Roz Steiner Art Gallery ~ Genesee Community College ~ 1 College Road ~ Batavia, NY 14020

When: Schedule for the 2023-2024 season and beyond

The Roz Steiner Art Gallery presents exhibitions by a variety of regional artists, faculty and students. We are proud to partner with the local community to uplift artists. The gallery opened in 2011, and since then, we have held a variety of shows featuring visual works, sculpture, ceramics, fiber arts, photography and other media. We offer a large professional space with state-of-the-art lighting and SMART technology to allow the presentation of new digital media, as well as online exhibitions. With over 1,700 square feet of space and equipped with moveable walls, the Roz Steiner Art Gallery is a flexible environment perfect for both intimate and large-scale exhibitions.

We also offer a secondary exhibition space in the form of the Stuart Steiner Theatre lobby. Equipped with the same fiberglass rail system as the gallery, we are able to install 2-dimensional work there.

The Art Gallery offers culturally-enriching events to GCC students and the community through a variety of media styles, concepts and processes. The College is an integral part of the arts community and works with regional arts organizations to enhance the Western New York art community.

The submissions and acceptance process are ongoing, so you can submit an application to the gallery at any time. Go to to submit your proposal. Please email if you have any questions.

Submission requirements

  • Portfolio (digital/website preferred)
  • Biography
  • Artist Statement
  • Resume or CV
  • Exhibit proposal (include size and number of pieces to be displayed)
  • Available to do solo exhibitions, duos and group shows

Quality of Artwork

  • must be professionally matted and framed/displayed; ready to hang
  • aesthetically show professional quality skills and techniques
  • conceptually show originality and creativity
  • artwork must fill the gallery space accordingly (single, duo or group exhibit)

Scheduling Goals

  • schedule a diversity of media and concepts within a year's exhibition plan
  • offer students exhibit times for fine arts and digital arts
  • offer exhibit times for professional artists
  • offer exhibit times for community arts organizations that are prepared to exhibit high-quality art at an age-appropriate level (high school/college/ and adult group exhibits will be considered
  • Our goal is to create a well-rounded exhibit schedule that meets the above requirements.

Jury Procedure

The GCC Gallery Committee will jury the artwork and create a schedule of events for the Roz Steiner Gallery. The Gallery Advisory Committee will then approve the proposed schedule. After the exhibit schedule has been approved, the Gallery Manager will send out acceptance letters and collect Gallery Contracts from the participating artists. Exhibits dates will be confirmed and reserved when the artist hands in the signed contract agreeing to the exhibition terms.

Genesee Community College professors named 2023 SUNY online teaching ambassadors

By Press Release


Press release:

Genesee Community College is proud to announce that Lauren Paisley, professor of Business, and Amy Conley, professor of Accounting and Business, have been selected as SUNY Online Teaching Ambassadors for 2023.

Lauren Paisley has been a dedicated full-time faculty member at GCC for eighteen years and has been teaching online since 2003. She holds a bachelor's degree in Medical Technology from D'Youville College and a Master's in Business Administration from SUNY University of Buffalo. Her passion for learning was ignited by her mother, who made a lateral career change when Lauren was in middle school and impressed upon her young daughter that it is never too late to make a change and seize an opportunity. Lauren's extensive experience includes coordinating the academic appeals process, active participation in SUNY Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and SUNY's Global Initiatives committee, and serving as an advisor to GCC's International Students Organization. She is also a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities and the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service.

Amy Conley is a Certified Public Accountant and has been a full-time faculty member at GCC for fourteen years, teaching online since 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting from St. John Fisher College and a Master's in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work experience includes serving as the Chief Financial Officer of a major subsidiary of a public energy company for eight years. Ms. Conley has extensive curriculum experience and has been an active participant in GCC's Curriculum Committee for over nine years. She is also a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

"GCC is proud to have such outstanding faculty members as Lauren Paisley and Amy Conley. We look forward to seeing the impact they will have as SUNY Online Teaching Ambassadors in 2023. Congratulations to both of them on this well-deserved honor," said Judith Littlejohn, GCC director of Online Learning.

As SUNY Online Teaching Ambassadors, both Ms. Paisley and Ms. Conley will be working with faculty and staff throughout SUNY to share their expertise in teaching online and in hybrid formats. They will also be promoting the benefits of online education and sharing best practices with their colleagues.

Submitted Photo.

GCC's 5th annual Business Idea Pitch Competition is April 26

By Press Release

Press Release:

Every solid business venture starts with one thing - a pitch! Whether making a sale or convincing an investor, your business idea pitch has to be organized, well-thought out, powerful and convincing! GCC is here to help get you prepared!

If you have a passion you would like to turn into a business but you aren't sure if anyone else will think it's a good idea, consider participating in GCC's 5th Annual Business Idea Pitch Competition on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building at Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus.

The competition is free and open to the public and prizes of $100 for first place and $75 for second place will be awarded to the most outstanding competitors in the "most likely to succeed" and "most creative" categories. Pitches will be judged by local business leaders.

According to Dr. Lina LaMattina, director of Business Programs at Genesee Community College, "A solid Business idea pitch is critical for any startup, and this competition will help participants learn how to organize, develop, and deliver a powerful and convincing pitch."

To participate in this event, please register for our Business Idea Pitch Competition by emailing Dr. Lina LaMattina, GCC director of Business Programs at or Amy Conley, GCC Professor of Accounting at no later than Thursday, April 20, 2023.

For help developing your Pitch for this competition - SIGN UP for our FREE Workshop on campus to help you prepare: Tuesday, April 18th at 12:30 p.m.

RSVP to Dr. Lina LaMattina at or Amy Conley at no later than Friday, April 14, 2023 - to ATTEND this Workshop.

Among the leading causes for startup failure is a lack of basic business experience. In lieu of losing thousands of investment dollars, today's entrepreneurs have found another way to gain that experience before launching their startup - education. Genesee Community College offers degree, certificate and micro-credential programs in Entrepreneurship to prepare emerging business owners and investors for success.

For more information, contact Vice President, Development and External Affairs Justin Johnston at (585) 345-6809, or via email:

Students get close look at healthcare careers at GLOW With Your Hands event

By Press Release


Press release:

More than 600 students from 28 school districts from Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming (GLOW) counties experienced a hands-on healthcare career exploration event Friday.  Supported by business and educational groups and sponsors led by Platinum Sponsor ESL Federal Credit Union, the inaugural GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare event took place at Genesee Community College.

GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare was manifested from the annual GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing event that educates students through simulations and other hands-on experiences in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, and skilled trades sectors on career opportunities available in students’ own backyards. 

“This event was such a special opportunity for our organization, with roughly 200 beds and six outpatient clinics within our health system, we are actively searching and hiring for the next generation of workforce candidates,” said David Kobis, Wyoming County Community Health System CEO. “Representatives from WCCHS participated in multiple hands-on workshops and a career fair where students were able to ask our team members about their roles and what it is like to work for our organization.”

The inaugural GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare event welcomed dozens of healthcare organizations from various sectors of the industry, including hospitals and health systems and career opportunities in nursing, mental health, social services and first responders as well as educational pathways into healthcare through BOCES, local colleges, and universities.

“Based on our success of engaging the future workforce with employers across the GLOW region in the manufacturing, agriculture and skilled trades sectors, we were optimistic that this same type of format would benefit healthcare providers and more importantly students who have an interest in a career in healthcare,” said Angela Grouse, Education to Employment Director at the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare. “With the current staffing challenges in the healthcare system, especially in rural areas, vendors recognized the benefit of participating and engaged enthusiastically.”

Students received hands-on instruction and experience in first aid/CPR, nursing, caretaking, and other healthcare-related activities. The students were also provided information about secondary career paths such as physical therapy, complementary and alternative medicine, Doctor of Medicine, and more.

“Our planning team is comprised of dedicated individuals who want to provide our youth with opportunities of exploring future career paths that fit their talents and aspirations,” said Karyn Winters, director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance Director and Co-Chair of GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare. “Students will now be able to go back to their clubs, counselors, and classrooms and have an idea of what career path they could see themselves in and will be able to build upon the connections they have made as a result of this engagement with healthcare organizations.”

Various local and state-level officials and stakeholders participated in the event at Genesee Community College to learn more about initiatives the GLOW region is taking to prepare its youth for future career and employment opportunities. This event showcased why there is a need for investment in rural healthcare entities and the number of students interested in these careers.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene








GCC names Ben Bonarigo 55th commencement speaker

By Press Release

Press release:

Genesee Community College is pleased to announce that Benjamin J. Bonarigo Sr., Esq. will be the 55th commencement speaker for the college's graduating class of 2023. Mr. Bonarigo, a former trustee of GCC and a first-generation college graduate, will share his experiences and insights with the graduates during the ceremony which will take place on May 20 at 1 p.m. in the Richard C. Call Arena.

Born and raised in Batavia, Ben Bonarigo graduated from Batavia High School in 1975. He attained an Associate of Science Degree in Business from Genesee Community College (1977), a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1979), and his Juris Doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1982).

After passing the bar exam, he returned to his hometown and was the founding and managing partner of the Bonarigo & McCutcheon Law Firm, where he practiced law for 40 years and held various positions, including the attorney for the City and Towns of Batavia and the Village of Oakfield.

Ben was deeply involved in the betterment of his profession as President of the Genesee County Bar Association, a delegate to the N.Y.S Bar Association, a member of the Attorney Grievance Committee that governed the ethical behavior of attorneys, and a member of the Judicial Qualification Commission that screened and gave ratings to prospective judges.

Ben was an active member of his local community, serving on the boards of many civic organizations, including Notre Dame High School, Paulo Busti Cultural Foundation, Literacy Volunteers, Batavia Youth Football and the Holland Land Office Museum. He also coached little league baseball and football.

From 2011 to 2020, Ben served as a member of the Board of Trustees at GCC, where he was instrumental in the Capital campaign that raised over $5M that helped fund the college's Student Success Center, Richard C. Call Arena and numerous scholarships. He also advocated for a multi-phase renovation plan to College Village, GCC's apartment-style student residence.

Having retired from practice in 2020, Mr. Bonarigo resides in Batavia and Rushford Lake, NY and in Palm Harbor, Florida. He enjoys spending time with his wife of forty years, Diane, his three children and their spouses, and most of all, with his five grandchildren.

"I am honored to be speaking at Genesee Community College's commencement ceremony and to share my experiences with the graduating class of 2023," said Mr. Bonarigo. "I am proud of what the college has accomplished over the years, and I look forward to seeing the impact that these graduates will have in the future."

GCC President Dr. James M. Sunser stated, "We are thrilled to have Mr. Bonarigo as our 55th commencement speaker. His commitment to education and his contributions to GCC and the community make him an ideal choice for this special occasion."

Photos: 14th Annual GLOW Tech Wars at GCC

By Joanne Beck


For the 14th year, middle and high school students from districts across Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties got together in the name of technology to be part of the annual GLOW Region Tech Wars Thursday at Genesee Community College in Batavia.

Student competitors chose from nearly 30 available competitions to test their skills and showcase the results of basic but extremely intricate and innovative technology.

Well worn favorites were brought back, including Battlebot Soccer, Bridge, CO2 Cars, Logo Design Sculpture, Onsite CAD Drawing and Reverse Engineering CAD, Skimmer Cars, Sumo Bots, Tractor Pull and Trebuchet, and Lumber Labyrinth.

The 2023 event also introduced the Mini-Bot competition and brought back Skimmer Cars and Technical Drawing for the middle schoolers as well as other legacy events such as Catapult, Paper Airplane, Rube Goldberg, and Sculpture.

The Mystery Event was brought back by popular demand, allowing students to be creative and use their skills in an “on-demand” timed situation.

STEAM Jam for students in grades three through five allowed them to explore mind-stimulating activities in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Tech Wars is among several dynamic programs giving students the opportunity to learn hands-on, often in business settings, and with industry professionals, organizers said. The ACE Program’s Career Pathways is committed to helping students explore career options and make a smooth transition from high school to further education and/or a career.

For more information about the various career exploration and dual enrollment opportunities and ACE-supported events at GCC, contact Ann Valento, GCC director of ACE programs at 585-343-0055, Ext. 6316 or

The complete schedule of events can be found here.  Final results are not yet posted.

Top photo is the SUMO Bot Alexander Team

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene








GCC seeks community feedback on draft strategic plan

By Press Release

Press release:

Attention community members! Genesee Community College has recently unveiled a draft of its 2023-2028 Strategic Plan, "Connect | Include | Evolve", which aims to guide the College in meeting the needs of the local, regional and global community for the next five years.

This comprehensive plan is made up of strategic priorities and core objectives that will serve as a guide to achieving key performance indicators. With an emphasis on helping students attain their educational goals, the plan was developed based on feedback received from six separate college forums, where around 150 individuals participated including community members, faculty, staff, students and administration. These forums produced ideas based on critical data relating to current remediation rates, changing GLOW region demographics, completion rates, funding rates and enrollment trends.

Over the next five years, GCC plans to use this Strategic Plan as a dynamic document to facilitate the development and alignment of annual plans of achievement for each division within the college. This will bring GCC closer to achieving its mission.

As GCC continues to build on its successes and strives to create new collaborative partnerships, innovative academic programs, and foster an inclusive culture that promotes academic excellence, continuous improvement, and professional development, community input is essential. Therefore, the college invites community members to provide their feedback on the draft plan, which can be submitted at

GCC is one of three schools participating in job-matching program for students

By Press Release

Press release:

Three State University of New York (SUNY) colleges have joined forces to help employers eager to hire along with workers ready to learn the needed skills for advanced manufacturing careers.

Western New York (WNY) employers face a crisis with a lack of skilled manufacturing workers. In response, Alfred State College, Genesee Community College, and Jamestown Community College established The faculty at each college stays in constant contact with regional employers to know the exact skills needed for graduates to land great-paying jobs. The new collaboration of colleges is a marketing initiative to attract more interested students, both high school graduates and workers looking to upskill and upgrade their career paths.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates that 2.1 million jobs will be left empty by 2030 waiting for qualified workers. Manufacturers employ more than 60,000 employees earning an average of $85,474 annually in Western New York according to NAM. Nearly every manufacturing company in the region knows the pain of open positions with 77 percent reporting that they currently are ready to hire and cannot find skilled professionals.

That's why was launched. Alfred State College, Genesee, and Jamestown Community Colleges offer dozens of different certificate and associate degrees in manufacturing. These colleges are spread across multiple WNY locations to make skill-building more convenient. After bringing all those options into one website, is actively recruiting and advertising to make dreams of high-paying careers a reality.

Thanks to a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, will increase the number of available skilled workers. These new hires are needed to fuel the WNY economy as the manufacturing industry is booming. The marketing tools being used are the website, brochures, social media, digital advertising, and emotionally engaging videos to showcase graduate success stories.

In Western New York, some of the prevailing wages include $60,800 for computer and electronics manufacturing jobs, $79,300 for transportation equipment work, $60,100 for fabricated metal workers, and $60,460 for mechatronics technicians according to the US Department of Labor. Check out all the careers available at

A memorandum of understanding between the three colleges outlines how each is a participant in this new venture. Leaders from each college are excited by the potential for assisting more students to find their new careers and employers to find much-needed skilled workers.

Vice President of Enrollment Management Betsy Penrose of Alfred State College said, "WNY Works is a collaborative effort to heighten awareness and interest in associate degrees, certificates, and non-credit training to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for individuals to launch high-demand careers. The goal of this effort, in part, is to reframe perceptions of learning opportunities that lead to careers such as highly skilled trades and technical opportunities in manufacturing. Stackable credentials and laddered programs now provide opportunities for both traditional-aged students and adults seeking retraining to start a new, viable, and well-compensated career."

Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Dr. Shelitha Williams of Genesee Community College said, "Genesee Community College is thrilled to be a part of, bringing together the resources of three SUNY colleges to help bridge the gap between employers and skilled workers in the thriving manufacturing industry. Our commitment to providing quality education and career opportunities to our students aligns perfectly with the mission of this initiative."

"JCC is excited to partner with Alfred State and Genesee Community College in fulfilling the mission of WNY Works," said Dr. Kirk Young, Jamestown Community College's vice president of Student Affairs. "We stay in constant communication with our regional employers' needs and understand the skills graduates must have to land rewarding jobs. This project continues to power our dedication to training our local workforce and supporting our manufacturers." enlisted the support and expertise of Interact Communications, a leader in student recruitment for two-year degrees. Their research confirmed how the pandemic and current economic climate have negatively impacted enrollment in two-year degree programs. More recent data from the National Student Clearinghouse shows that the number of two-year degree-seeking students inched up nationally by just under half of one percent for a positive trend based on Fall 2022. hopes to add fuel to that recovery to help more students launch new careers.

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