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genesee county business education alliance

Camp hard hat now accepting student registrations and business sponsorships

By Press Release
Camp Hard Hat 2022

Press Release:

Camp Hard Hat, a week-long day camp that provides local students ages 12-15 the opportunity to learn and participate in community-based construction projects has expanded from two to seven locations for the 2023 summer and has space available at each location in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, and Monroe counties.

As a result of the success of the program over the past decade, 400 students have participated have completed over 10,000 hours of training and learning, organizers decided to expand into Monroe and Livingston Counties and are already working on expanding to even more locations throughout the Western New York region for 2024.

Camp Hard Hat is a collaboration between the Genesee County Business Education Alliance (BEA) and Livingston Associates, a business consulting firm that offers a unique range of specialized business infrastructure solutions. Courses are taught by BOCES Building Trades instructors and past Camp Hard Hat graduates. 

Campers are taught the principles of design and construction, project safety, and the power of teamwork. These skills and hands-on construction practice will propel the campers into future careers. 

“Livingston Associates is an active partner in construction-related workforce opportunities throughout our community and Genesee and Wyoming County officials have built an effective youth workforce model that others want to be a part of,” said Anthony DiTucci President and CEO of Livingston Associates. “Camp Hard Hat provides an opportunity for area youth to learn about the many career path opportunities available in the construction and skilled trades industry.”

The camps run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. daily on the following dates and locations:

  • July 10 – 14 at the Wyoming County BEC at Perry Park (Warsaw, NY)
  • July 17 – 21 at the Lollypop Farm (Fairport, NY)
  • July 24 – 28 at the Genesee Country Village and Museum (Mumford, NY)
  • July 31 – August 4 at Genesee County Park (East Bethany, NY)
  • August 7 – 11 at Monroe Community College FWD Center (Rochester, NY)
  • August 14 – 18 at Monroe 2 BOCES (Spencerport, NY)
  • August 21 – 25 at Rochester Rotary Sunshine Camp (Rush, NY)

The program was originally created by the Genesee County Business Education Alliance in 2013. 

“Our goal as workforce leaders is to introduce students to as many careers and workforce opportunities that they may not even be aware of as a majority of the skills offered through Camp Hard Hat are not available within our local school districts,” said Genesee County BEA Director Karyn Winters.

“Not only are we providing students career exploration opportunities, but also instilling practical life skills that they will take with them whether or not they decide to take on a career in construction or skilled trades.”

Sponsorships opportunities are still available for Camp Hard Hat, which help cover the cost of tools, equipment, instructors, transportation, lunch, and full camp scholarships for individuals that qualify.

There are sponsorship opportunities for the Toolbox ($5,000), Toolbelt ($2,500), Hammer ($1,000) Saw ($500), Flashlight ($250), and Nail ($100) levels. Businesses and individuals may also sponsor a camper.

Registration is open for all seven locations and is offered at $95/camper with full scholarships available to low-to-moderate families that qualify. Visit to learn more or register today!

Getting back in shape: Genesee County BEA steps up workforce program; legislature eyes increased funding

By Mike Pettinella

The director of the Genesee County Business/Education Alliance compares the ramping up of economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic to getting back to one’s workout routine after a long layoff.

“In a post-COVID world, it’s like turning on the treadmill and trying to jump on at full speed,” Karyn Winters said on Monday as she updated the Genesee County Legislature’s Human Services Committee on BEA activities before receiving word that the committee is approving more than $9,000 in funding for the agency in 2022.

Although the coronavirus barriers are gone, “challenges are still there,” Winters said, speaking of the BEA’s quest to attract local businesses to support its mission of connecting employers with students proficient in the skilled trades.

A program of Genesee Valley BOCES, the BEA is housed at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce office. It coordinates numerous programs and events focused on workforce development opportunities, including career days, job fairs, Junior Achievement, career exploration field trips and summer career exploration camps.

Winters pointed out that annual membership dues are based on the number of employees at a company and she is finding that it is difficult for many of those businesses “to continue as they normally do.”

As a result, she said the BEA “is leaning on our larger employers” – businesses that have sustained strong financial positions – through its Genesee County Premier Workforce Membership.

She reported that the BEA has partnered with the Genesee County Economic Development Center and GLOW with Your Hands to continue the premier option where members pay $2,500 to $5,000 annually to invest in the future workforce and grow their pool of applicants.

In 2022, new premier members include Batavia Downs Gaming, Bonduelle USA, GCEDC, Liberty Pumps and Oxbo International. Each premier member receives sponsorship status and access to camps and recruitment events.

Winters said the BEA intends to resume the summer career exploration camps that provide middle school students a chance to look at five different industries, such as culinary arts, skilled trades, animal sciences, engineering/technology and medicine.

Through financial support from the legislature and BEA members, she said she expects to hold the cost per student to $95 for the weeklong camp, but acknowledged that costs are going up and finding more funding is an issue.

Toward that end, the Human Services Committee voted in favor of (subject to full legislature approval) a one-time $6,000 payment for summer camp activities along with its yearly appropriation of $3,107.

Winters thanked the committee for the additional money, noting that it will enable her to hire someone to help with the summer programming.

Coming events on the BEA calendar include:

  • Graduating Seniors Job Fair, May 10, 9-11 a.m., noon-2 p.m., Genesee Valley BOCES, State Street Road, Batavia. Premier Workforce Membership employers will be represented at the job fair.
  • Annual BEA Breakfast, May 6, 7:15 a.m., Terry Hills Restaurant, Clinton Street Road, Batavia. Focus is on Batavia High School’s Introduction to Education class that trained high school students to deliver Junior Achievement's financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship programs to Jackson Primary School students.
  • Fourth Annual GLOW with Your Hands career exploration day, Sept. 27, details to be announced. A GLOW with Your Hands Healthcare event is being planned for the spring of 2023.

For more information about the BEA, contact Winters at 585-343-7440 or

'Coach Swaz' is part of a team preparing students for trades to meet local job demands

By Press Release

From Chris Suozzi (inset photo left), vice president of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

"Coach Swaz." That’s how a lot of people know me, even in economic development circles.

A great team, like the Buffalo Bills and all of our partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is built on talented players and motivated coaches. Building on our economic growth in Genesee County is achieved through teamwork.

For our youth, that coaching can build connections to careers that put them in a position where they can succeed quickly by tapping into their talents and passion. Through Genesee FAST (Food processing, Advanced manufacturing, Skilled trades, and Technician) we can mentor, educate and train our youth for career opportunities with companies across the GLOW region. This allows us to move fast in helping companies with the job demands in their respective workplaces.

I want to reference a couple of examples of how this is being demonstrated. Graham Corporation recently purchased and installed a new welding simulator for the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center’s Metal Trades Program at Genesee Valley BOCES. It is a great example of how our growing companies are building connections with students in preparing the next generation of skilled welders. I applaud Graham Corporation’s vision and support of Genesee Valley BOCES.

Andrew Geyer’s welding students at the Batavia CTE are currently training on real world scenarios and are encouraged to get even more involved with youth apprenticeships. By taking the appropriate courses, participating in relevant activities and focusing on developing their skills we are providing students the playbook for success.

In 2019, more than 1,000 students, educators and guests participated in a single-day event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds – GLOW With Your Hands. In my role as cochair of GLOW With Your Hands along with GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony, we knew our entire volunteer team had to make a dramatic pivot for 2020 because of the pandemic. And we achieved success by going virtual.

Providing students with hands-on opportunities at the GLOW With Your Hands event last year was extremely impactful. Providing that same experience this year seemed like a monumental task, but we are reaching even more kids than last year making deeper connections with the launch of

Karyn Winters, the director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance, and Angela Grouse, director of education to employment initiatives for the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, are leading all of our volunteers across the GLOW region in this effort. They once again enlisted companies to turn a hands-on event into an on-demand platform for our students to pursue great career opportunities.

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual demonstrates the career pathways that our students can take in securing family sustaining jobs and, more importantly, remaining part of our community by staying here and raising their own families.

I encourage everyone who wants to see Genesee County continue to grow and prosper by putting our kids in a position to win, to please visit the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website and start discussing these careers with our youth. You can be a great coach.

Coach Swaz’s Career of the Month: Welding

There are dozens of careers that we are encouraging parents to share with kids in middle school and high school using the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website. This month, I recommend warming up with the welding profile and seeing how welder-fabricators succeed.

Below is a YouTube video about welders and welding at Oxbo International Corp. in Byron, courtesy of the GCEDC.

Free resources to help teens understand COVID-19's financial impact and support K-12 online learning

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Junior Achievement of Western New York is releasing a free resource for teens titled "Making Sense: Understanding the Financial Impact of COVID-19."

The guide is designed to answer teens’ questions about the economic implications of COVID-19, including “Why are some store shelves empty?”, “Why are some people losing their jobs?” and “Are we going into a recession, or even a depression?”

The guide is available here. (PDF)

“While social distancing is essential to fighting COVID-19, the disease and the steps we must take to address it are having a financial impact. Our goal is to help young people better understand what’s happening,” said Laurie Mahoney, president of Junior Achievement of WNY. "April is Financial Literacy Month, and this is really an important time to be sharing this kind of information.”

The guide is written with middle school and high school students in mind. It uses relatable examples to explain what a recession is, how the Federal Reserve works and steps being taken by government and the private sector to deal with the economic impact associated with COVID-19.

Additionally, to support teachers and parents who may have students finishing school online this semester, JA is also offering free K – 12th grade resources that are available here.

“JA is doing this so our kids can spend more time planning for and dreaming about tomorrow, and less time worrying about today," said Alycia Ivancie, senior education manager.

Junior Achievement is committed to doing this until we can all be certain again.”

For information about these JA programs, please contact Karyn Winters, executive director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance at:

GC Business Education Alliance hosts seven Career Exploration Camps this summer for grades 6-9

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Genesee County Business Education Alliance (BEA) is hosting seven Career Exploration Camps this summer for students entering grades 6-9 in the 2017-18 school year.

Up to 220 campers will experience careers from culinary arts and animal science, to construction and medical careers. Each camp provides hands-on training and amazing experiences for students in their selected career, and exposes them to the array of careers available in their own community.

The following camps are being offered to students:

  • All About Dogs (July 10-14)
  • Culinary Camp 1 (July 10-14)
  • Culinary Camp 2 (July 17-21)
  • Animal Science/Vet Camp (July 17-21)
  • MST Camp (Math Science Technology) (July 17-21)
  • Medical Camp (July 24-28)
  • Camp Hard Hat (July 31-Aug. 4; for students entering grades 8-10).

Parents can go to to learn more about the Summer Career Camps and to register.

These camps are subsidized through donations, sponsorships and volunteerism to keep them affordable for students and their families.

The Genesee County BEA is an organization whose mission is to foster a partnership between business and education, and to assist students in preparing for the world of work. Housed at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce in Batavia, the BEA creates and implements programs that are designed to develop a stronger workforce for businesses in Genesee County.

Sponsored Post: The 2016 Summer Career Camps Announced! Register now!

By Lisa Ace

The Genesee County Business Education Alliance (BEA) is an organization whose mission is to foster a partnership between business and education, and to assist students in preparing for the world of work. Housed at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, the BEA creates and implements programs that are designed to create a stronger workforce for businesses in Genesee County.

This Summer the BEA will host eight Career Exploration Camps for up to 220 students in grades six through nine. Registered campers will experience careers from Culinary Arts to Animal Science, to construction and medical careers. Each camp provides hands‐on training and amazing experiences for them in their selected career, and exposes them to the array of careers available right here in their own community. Parents can go to to learn more about the Summer Career Camps and to register.

These camps are subsidized through donations, sponsorships and volunteerism to keep them affordable for our students and their families. If your business would like to be a camp sponsor and promote our future workforce, please contact Beth Kemp at the Genesee County BEA at (585) 343‐7440 or

A day at the races -- and in a balloon -- for middle-schoolers

By Daniel Crofts

Middle-schoolers from all over the county came to Batavia Middle School on Tuesday for the "MST Explorer Camp" (see June 19 article for more information). The camp involved students in hands-on learning activities using math, science and technology.

A 13-year-old race car driver and Batavia Middle School student Val Stephens -- pictured center -- helps with a demonstration designed to give the kids a lesson in aerodynamics:

Kevin Raymond, a teacher in the Keshequa School District and a hot-air balloon enthusiast, talks to the kids about the type of energy that powers hot-air balloons. He shows them how they work, using an ultra-light balloon as an example (keep in mind that about 10 of these could fit into one of the larger ones):

(Inside the balloon)

Batavia Middle School technology teacher Frank Panepento shows them how to go about designing CO2 cars. 

The students designed their own cars, put them in a wind tunnel (in order to determine how much speed they could handle), weighed them and, when they finally had all the necessary data, raced them. The students whose cars fared poorly in the race were simply asked to modify their designs and see what effect their modifications had on the cars' efficiency. 


GC Business Education Alliance to celebrate 20 years

By Billie Owens

The Genesee County Business Education Alliance will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary at its annual breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

The celebration will be at Terry Hills Golf Course and Banquet Facility in Batavia. 

Event Date and Time

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