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Coach’s Corner: Electro-Mechanical Trades Program putting students on million dollar pathway

By Chris Suozzi
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Submitted photo. 

Seeing the contracts NFL teams are handing out, it’s wild to see the value of a journeyman quarterback or a promising left tackle. 

But we have students graduating from our high schools this year who have made their own million-dollar decisions in mechatronics and in the metal trades.

And nothing is preventing more students from doing the same. 

Take Joseph Costa and Thomas Condidorio from Le Roy. 

We just celebrated our 100th graduate in the Batavia Career & Technical Education Center’s Electro-Mechanical Trades Program, and their story is an example of why this career pathway is working.

In their junior and senior years, Joseph and Thomas trained in the Electro-Mechanical Trades classroom and went on job shadows and paid youth apprenticeship co-ops at Gorbel.

Both students are now graduating with accepted offers to continue with the company and pursue apprenticeships.

Without college debt and with the starting salaries matching their training experience, they are on the path to making $1 million over the next 12 years.

How?

Upon entering the workforce in a specialized field, students can complete a four-year apprenticeship program, where they gain hands-on experience and develop their skills while contributing to the team as a valuable asset.

These four years can earn you as much as $250,000 debt-free!

After your apprenticeship, you will be well on your way with promotions, additional job duties, and leadership roles that will set you up for sustained success throughout your professional career.

Your next eight years in the workforce can earn you an additional $750,000, which will complete your 'make a million in mechatronics' milestone as a professional who can receive a steady annual salary increase.

Joseph and Thomas are thrilled to have the chance to 'make a million in mechatronics', but what's even more exciting is that every other student in their region and their classmates in the CNC and Welding programs at the Batavia CTE share the same incredible opportunity!

These three programs are just the beginning of what mechatronics and the metal trades have to offer, providing a foundation for a wide range of career possibilities.

Mechatronics is an in-demand skill set that employers are actively searching for. It provides professionals with diverse roles related to computing, robotics, mechanical engineering, and information technology.

For Joseph and Thomas, the programs that led them to start their careers in mechatronics with a strong foundation in robotics, residential/commercial electrical, circuit boards, wiring, and most importantly, how to become self-sufficient learners, skills manifested from the instruction of Rich Monroe and the Electro-Mechanical Program.

These skills lead to local careers including residential electrician, industrial electrician, maintenance technician, advanced manufacturing technician, robotics technician, engineering/engineering technician, solar technician, and even healthcare technician!

Even if your child is graduating without taking advantage of this program, there are opportunities to catch up.

The same partners who supported Joseph and Thomas team up for a six-week mechatronics-based program at the Batavia CTE Center. The program provides students aged 18-24 with paid on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

By gaining these skills, students can improve their job prospects and increase their earning potential in the region.

With all of the companies growing in our region, we can help your son or daughter find their path. As a career coach, I’m passionate about helping them.

We can get them on the path to ‘make a million in mechatronics and the metal trades’!

Contact me at csuozzi@gcedc.com to learn more about the opportunities available.

Chris “Coach SwazZ” Suozzi is the Vice President of Business & Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Coach's Column: let’s put the spotlight on women this March

By Chris Suozzi
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Submitted photo from Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program.

March Madness brings out the best of college basketball players across the country. The emotions and exuberant atmosphere generated by fans and athletes are unmatched.

From a workforce development perspective, the GLOW region’s version of March Madness offers the same competitive, robust, and exhilarating atmosphere that hundreds of student-athletes will shortly embark upon.

Two themes that intertwine in the realms of workforce development and athletics are the inspirational narratives that haven’t always been given the spotlight. I’m excited that Caitlin Clark’s record-breaking performances at Iowa are getting the attention it deserves - and I’m working to ensure that the young women ready for tech careers get the same attention. 

Like Caitlin, the young leaders stepping up in workforce training and manufacturing are a small portion of the women who can play integral roles. If our region is going to successfully meet the workplace demands of existing and new and emerging companies, then there is going to be a need for a diverse workforce, particularly among women.

Future Genesee County employer and semiconductor manufacturer Edwards has recognized the importance of having a diversified workforce as the industry-leading company has set a goal for 30% of their employees to be female by 2030.

The team overseeing Edwards Genesee, and our existing base of manufacturers, is striving to these goals by promoting positive awareness through our work with schools and colleges, encouraging aspiring female engineers, technicians, managers, and apprentices.

“Our goal is to be as diverse as possible… You want to have that mix of ideas and backgrounds - that’s how you get the best results,” Jeff Mickel, Edwards’ project manager shared recently on a tour of GCC’s training facilities.

Our workforce development blueprint was designed to introduce our students to in-demand, family-sustaining careers, and we look forward to working with our employers in their efforts to recruit individuals from various backgrounds.

We have two great opportunities to do that!

The GLOW region’s March Madness kicks off with STEAM Jam and Tech Wars, where elementary, middle, and high school students showcase their technical skills at Genesee Community College.

At STEAM Jam, over 100 3rd – 5th-grade students will participate in hands-on activities and show them the opportunity to turn these skills into a potential career once they are older and ready to join the workforce.

Later in the day, the 15th annual Tech Wars will take place where GLOW region middle and high school students showcase their technical expertise through innovative technology competitions.

To further educate students in attendance, New York State’s leading mechatronics program housed at the Genesee Valley BOCES will be in attendance to inform students about the career opportunities and training available for careers that use the same skills being utilized at STEAM Jam and Tech Wars.

Stay tuned to find out what schools and individuals will end up in the winner’s circle on Thursday, March 21!

Rounding out our March Madness is the second annual GLOW With Your Hands Healthcare. This is a great program offering hands-on displays and presentations to over 600 students from 28 GLOW region schools.

While this edition of GLOW With Your Hands aims to introduce students to careers in the healthcare sector, I always advise students that these skills can take them to any career. We have one of the most prepared and educated workforces in the country and we can’t close any doors to a career change - after all, a versatile skillset is what set up Cailtin Clark’s scoring record on the court!

Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, or guidance counselor contact me at csuozzi@gcedc.com to learn more about the opportunities available.

Chris Suozzi is the Vice President of Business & Workforce Development and the Co-Founder of GLOW With Your Hands.

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Submitted photo from Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Bootcamp.
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Submitted photo from GLOW With Your Hands: Healthcare.
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Submitted photo from GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing.

Coach's Corner: STEM after school programs blossom in 3D

By Chris Suozzi
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chris suozzi coaches corner

Changes in technology, from AI to computer-driven manufacturing, are at the forefront of all aspects of our everyday lives.

As we learn more about these tools, we must use them to our advantage and adapt. That’s what all great coaches, teachers, and learners do.

You wouldn’t catch me dead rooting for Bill Belichick, but now that he’s gone from the AFC East, I’m okay saying that he showed us how to do it right.

As coaches and parents, we have to adapt our strategy in our “off-seasons,” no matter how successful we were the previous year. Bring in new concepts, lift up new talents, and find every advantage we can.

And for parents with students in the third grade and higher, there is an advantage your kids can access right now!

Did you know kids are already learning Industry 4.0 concepts, troubleshooting, operational efficiency and creative thinking through 3-D printing - and doing it at Robert Morris?

The Batavia Tech Club offers short-session programs with instruction and application through hands-on interactions with emerging technologies.

I’ve seen Jim Dillon grow this idea, constantly making adjustments to equip more students with the skills that will make them the best learners and future leaders.

Jim leads classes in 3D printing, 3D design, micro-controller coding, cloud-based collaboration, CNC laser cutting, and other cutting-edge technology-related skills that are essential to today’s workplace.

His focus is on age-appropriate learning. This week’s programs were for 3rd through 8th graders, and next week’s are for 3rd through 5th graders.

On Tuesday, I joined Jim and his students as they toured a classroom filled with 3-D printers and Arduino controls. It buzzed with activity. To see the instant gratification of making something was great, but seeing students gain an understanding of how equipment works was even better.

Putting these types of technologies in their hands pushes young learners outside of their comfort zones.

This is how you grow and develop interests you may have never been aware of.

In workforce development, we make improvements every year. We tailor our programs to the economic demands and interests expressed by workforce candidates.  That’s how to do it right.

The good news is that our kids have already taken those steps. Even if they don’t realize it, each new challenge they take on gives them more flexibility in the future.

We have to show them the way and highlight what’s available. While our big events like GLOW With Your Hands are popular, a lot is happening just out of sight.

The Batavia Tech Club is a great example.

We need to continue to equip the next generation of skilled workers with youth workforce programs that are building the pipeline for the growing private sector across our region. Why not expand their minds with the latest technologies being taught by the Batavia Tech Club?

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Batavia Tech Club, please contact Jim Dillon at jdillon@bataviatechclub.com or (585) 297-7779.

Chris Suozzi is the Vice President of Business &Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

GCEDC consultant mapping out career paths with local businesses for area students

By Howard B. Owens
Shelia Eigenbrod gcedc
Shelia Eigenbrod, education consultant for GCEDC, making a presentation to the GCEDC board of directors on Thursday.
Photo by Howard Owens.

When you're charting a new path, you need a roadmap, and Shelia Eigenbrod, a year into her new job with the Genesee County Economic Development Center, has exactly that in mind.

The map would help inform high school students about career opportunities in Genesee County and what it might take to land the jobs that will put them on a path to a good salary with no college debt.

Eigenbrod, a retired Pavilion Middle School principal, is GCEDC's education consultant.

She told The Batavian after a GCEDC board of directors meeting on Thursday that her roadmap project is "very exciting."

"It's like a typical old-school map," Eigenbrod said. "It unfolds. It will contain all of the industries in Genesee County, especially those focused on advanced manufacturing. It'll designate the types of hires, whether it's engineers, skilled trades, technicians, or apprenticeship programs, and will have a lot of descriptions so that students and school counselors understand what mechatronics is, what CNC is, what advanced manufacturing is, and will also connect to workforce development."

The roadmap was the focus of her presentation on Thursday to the GCEDC board.

"This is something that is meant to be attractive to and understandable for all the guidance counselors and school officials," Eigenbrod said. "It's also something easier to hand out to students. I know we're going to compete with a lot of college materials, the mountain of stuff every graduating senior gets, but really, the message here is all the great careers we have in our community that are, no doubt, we have training programs already set up in our BOCES (and at Genesee Community College)."

She expects the map to be a nice handout at school open houses, parent meetings, and career fairs.

"We've identified a lot of the companies in Genesee County," Eigenbrod said. "We're going to have descriptors of what the company produces, their type of workforce, number of people if they're intending to hire, and if they are looking for apprenticeships, skilled trades, engineers, and technicians."

In response to board questions, she said she also expects to include information on local businesses in need of back-office help, such as accountants and other financial workers.

The map will point students to resources for training for the type of jobs available.

"I really want educators to understand what is going on, and these career pathways," she said.

Coach's Corner: with workforce programs, you control your destiny

By Chris Suozzi
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Photo of "Mechatronics Lab" courtesy of GCEDC. It shows a student in the 2023 Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Bootcamp using the mechatronics equipment that youth apprentices train with at the Batavia Career & Technical Education Center.

The end of the NFL regular season brings words that I like to put into practice as an economic and workforce professional. None is better than the cliché than a team is “controlling its own destiny.” 

It’s a reward and a challenge.

You’ve earned that control by outperforming your peers. You need to keep winning, and the next step of your journey is assured.

That’s also what makes this part of our workforce development calendar so energizing. Youth apprenticeships reward our most engaged students by giving them their pick of career opportunities.

Just ask Bailey Burdett, a current HP Hood technician and former Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program electro-mechanical technician graduate who has earned significant hours of related training and instruction that is applied to his apprenticeship coursework.

And although he needs to complete four years of on-the-job experience, he only needs to take four more classes during his apprenticeship to become a Journey Worker electro-mechanical technician.

Similar to players emerging as key playoff contributors, Bailey is getting his reps in as he grows, and the best part is that like NFL practice squad players, he and others in apprenticeship programs still get paid on the way to the big time.

Students can join the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program during their junior year of high school where they will job shadow at various employers throughout the region including Tambe Electric, Oxbo, Nortera and others.

This is where students observe the type of work that is performed daily, taking in the bustling and robust atmosphere of the advanced manufacturing industry. 

It’s like you’re the rookie who was just drafted and are trying to find your way in the professional world. You get to take in practice and have an older veteran take you under their wing. This process is all about asking questions and figuring out where you fit in. Taking this portion of the job seriously is essential if you want to succeed in this evolving industry.

The real fun begins after your job shadow.

In your senior year, after you receive in-class instruction using state-of-the-art mechatronics equipment at Genesee Valley BOCES in the morning, you will go to your designated employer to receive paid on-the-job training.

This is your time to shine! You get to showcase everything you learned the past year and prove to your peers and teammates why you belong in your industry.

After the youth apprenticeship program, you will have received up to 288 hours of training, equivalent to two years of apprenticeship-related training and instruction.

You’ll be well on your way to completing your apprenticeship hours required to work as a technician, and getting a head start against the competition.

Be like Bailey and the dozens of graduates that have completed these programs. Take your career into your own hands!

Coach SwazZ is ready to help, to answer your questions, and to make a connection for you. Contact me at 585-343-4866 or csuozzi@gcedc.com.

Coach's Corner: Rest not an option in Workforce Development

By Chris Suozzi
faa 4-h at fair
William Muoio, from Graham Corp., supervises Justin Deleo, a Byron-Bergen student, during the FFA/4-H welding competition at the Genesee County Fair in July 2023. The competition is another aspect of workforce development in Genesee County.
File Photo by Howard Owens
Chris "Coach Swazz" Suozzi

I’ve never been a fan of load management in basketball. I see the value in taking a breather mid-game, but taking yourself out of the competition or a great opportunity never made sense to me.

Challenging yourself in new ways is how you grow as an athlete, as a person, and as a professional. 

Did the 1,100 students who participated in GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing need a breather? Absolutely. There was so much for them to learn in one day – about themselves and all the skilled trades, manufacturing, food production, and agricultural careers in their backyard.

But meeting with 65 employers in the GLOW Region and testing out dozens of careers was energizing, not exhausting.

We once again saw how Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming county kids are ready for this unique challenge.

  • They hammered with precision and power at Camp Hard Hat’s nail-driving competition.
  • They jumped into the controls of construction vehicles and welding simulators.
  • They scaled power poles, raced wheelbarrows weighted down by cinder blocks, and grasped the lessons taught through GV BOCES’ mechatronics lab equipment.

Through it all, our GLOW With Your Hands participants showed a passion that we need to continually embrace. That’s a big reason I am excited to have a new placement on the workforce development calendar for our next big event. It keeps the momentum going!

Cornell in High School takes the wide-scale career exposure concept from GLOW With Your Hands and focuses it on a group of career-focused students in the Class of 2024 from Nov. 7 - 9.

Over three days of Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences-led training at SUNY Genesee Community College, students get hands-on experiences in food production, plant safety, and the financial benefits of a career in the food industry.

Employers like Nortera in Oakfield and Bergen, Upstate Niagara Cooperative in Batavia, and Yancey’s Fancy in Pembroke have welcomed this opportunity. Our students are going to connect with them in the classroom and in facility tours.

Participating students will earn a Food Processing certificate from Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, giving them a free head-start for careers that offer great lives with no college debt – and they do this all while they are still in high school!

Know a student who would fit this program? Registration is at tinyurl.com/CornellBootcamp and I’m a call (585-409-1301) or an email (csuozzi@gcedc.com) away when it comes to connecting kids to careers.

I worked with Cornell to launch this program in 2022 because of the potential it had in Genesee County. Our strong base of food and beverage companies is the largest employer within our region. Continued investment in this industry results in ample and rewarding job opportunities.

There are great futures ahead for our students at Nortera, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Yancey’s Fancy, and across many food and beverage employers in our region.

I’m not taking a game off, or letting an opportunity pass by for our kids to succeed.

Looking ahead, there are matching days for this year’s Youth Apprenticeships in December, a Senior Job Fair, and the Youth Apprenticeship internships and co-ops early in 2024.

Chris "Coach Swazz" Suozzi is VP of Business Development for the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Boxcar derbies match speed of workforce development, coach says

By Press Release
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Photo from 2023 Inaugural Oakfield Labor Daze Box Car Derby by Howard Owens.

By Chris Suozzi

Accelerating as they hit the final stretch to cross the finish line, pairs of boxcar derby racers dipped their heads. It was one of many lessons I was pleased to share with youth aged 7 -13 gained through a Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation-sponsored program.

70 racers and their families took up the challenge of building, designing, and perfecting their cars for a pair of fast-paced events – the August 26 BID Boxcar Derby in Batavia and the September 2 Labor Daze Boxcar Derby in Oakfield.

These events, and partners like the Batavia Business Improvement District and Oakfield Betterment Committee, create lifelong memories and demonstrate that through innovative workforce development programs, youth in Genesee County and surrounding communities develop through skill-building activities, career engagement, and training.

From Boxcar to Bootcamp

The pace of a boxcar derby matches the speed of our workforce development. We offer diverse tracks for our students, advancing them from pee-wee to pro levels, just like team sports. See below how our racers can progress with programs reaching every age and multiple ability levels.

  • Ages 7 to 13 – Boxcar Derby
  • Ages 8 to 11 – STEAM Jam, a GCC Tech Wars program for 3 rd to 5 th grade students
  • Ages 12 to 15 – Camp Hard Hat, a weeklong building construction trades program.
  • Ages 13 to 18 – GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing and GLOW With Your Hands : Healthcare, mass career exploration festivals with hands-on demonstrations; GCC Tech Wars, an extended STEM challenge program
  • Ages 17 to 18 – Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeships, employer-matched job shadowing and co-ops; GV BOCES training in mechatronics, welding, precision machining, and building trades; Cornell in High School food processing training program, a three-day accelerated food & beverage training program
  • Ages 18 to 24 – Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a six-week accelerated mechatronics training program

Committed to Workforce Solutions

As I recently told the Buffalo News, my sense of urgency is like no other. That’s why we’ve been in overdrive to solve the workforce demands of the future ahead of time.

The GCEDC works with our training providers, school engagement organizations, and educators to expand the capacity of training programs. We’ve seen real results – there’s been a 30% increase in BOCES training participation since 2019, events and programs in our community had over 3,000 participants last year, and we're on pace to welcome 1,000 students to GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing later this month. 

We need to continue to overcome national challenges that start at home and school. It is crucial to empower parents, older siblings, friends and teachers to encourage pathways with no college debt. The outcomes for our recent pre-apprenticeship graduates, with immediate careers paying over $27/hour highlight the importance of these opportunities.

It’s a challenge that renews every school year. With over 700 high-quality careers coming with Plug Power and Edwards semiconductor at STAMP, and over 1,000 more at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, the capacity for great local jobs is being met. 

These are careers within reach.

Let’s all think and act like our boxcar racers. 

We just have to stretch, to pull together, and I know we’ll win.

Coach Swazz

Cans for Careers Drive set for May 17

By Howard B. Owens
cans for careers
County Manager Matt Landers, Paul Osborn
deputy highway superintendent of facilities, parks, recreation & forestry, Scott Schrader, AQS Redemption in Elba, Chris Suozzi, VP business development, GCEDC, Alvi Castro, AQS Redemption, and Jay Lazaroni, work force development director.
Photo by Howard Owens

Press release:

Genesee County is announcing its Cans for Careers drive to support hands-on career exploration for youth at annual GLOW With Your Hands events and other related youth-related workforce development programs. Residents can drop off bottles and cans at three Batavia locations between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17. Bottles and cans can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • Department of Social Services: 5130 E. Main St Rd, Batavia, NY
  • Job Development Bureau: 587 East Main St, Batavia, NY
  • County Building 1 (St. Mary’s Parking Lot): 18 Ellicott St, Batavia, NY 

“The annual GLOW With Your Hands and other career exploration events attract thousands of students throughout the GLOW region and within Genesee County and fundraising is an important component in conducting these events which are very volunteer intensive,” said Genesee County Manager Matt Landers.

Genesee County will host the one-day drive in conjunction with AQS Redemption Inc., a local New York State bottle and can redemption company. Residents can schedule free pick-ups or drop off their redeemable bottles and cans at the company’s location at 1 North Main Street in Elba, NY.  Area businesses can also host a bottle and can drive at their workplace.  Residents and businesses can call at 585-250-0870 or email aqsredemption@gmail.com to find out more information.

 “We are once again fortunate that AQS is willing to commit its collection facility for a full day in order to support our efforts as we look to enhance our workforce events and programs for our youth,” said GLOW With Your Hands Co-Chair and GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony.  “Our partners in Genesee County government also recognize the importance of workforce development and we appreciate their partnership in this endeavor.”

For more information on how to be a part of Cans for Careers, please visit glowwithyourhands.com/cans-for-careers.

GLOW With Your Hands returns to fairgrounds Sept. 27

By Press Release
Video Sponsor
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Press release:

GLOW With Your Hands is coming back to the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and is anticipating its largest turnout of students and vendors since its inception in 2019. Over 1,000 students from 28 school districts across the GLOW region will be arriving to the fairgrounds for the day-long, hands-on career exploration event.

Approximately 65 businesses will provide hands-on activities and simulations in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food production, skilled trades sectors as well as the various branches of the military. Students will have the opportunity to learn about career opportunities in their own backyard.

“The historic participation of students and businesses is the result of the hard work of our committee members, volunteers, sponsors, and local stakeholders,” said Chris Suozzi, GLOW With Your Hands Co-Chair. “Interacting with GLOW region companies opens many possibilities for students entering the workforce as employers are eagerly ready to hire our well-trained graduates to fill high-growth and high-demand positions within their operations.”

Businesses will bring hands-on simulation-type activities to portray accurate examples of what their job entails, including Platinum Sponsors National Grid, LandPro Equipment, and Genesee Construction. National Grid will have its team members on site with a line pole to demonstrate line work. LandPro Equipment will have members from its team operating John Deere equipment. Genesee Construction will welcome students to a heavy equipment display. There will also be multiple trade and contractor organizations putting on displays of bricklaying, electrician work, pipelaying, and more. 

“Participating businesses put in a tremendous effort at providing the students as accurate a demonstration of the type of work their workforce performs on a day-to-day basis and to spark career inspiration and exploration in our youth,” said Jay Lazarony, GLOW With Your Hands Co-Chair. “We are counting down the days until September 27th when all of the hard work over the last several months by many groups and organizations across the GLOW region will become a reality.”

For more information about GLOW With Your Hands, please visit glowwithyourhands.com

Pre-apprenticeship 'boot camp' gives some muscle to job advancement

By Joanne Beck

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Boot camp every weekday for the last six weeks has been worth it, Greg Burgess says.

Only, instead of a typical camp filled with burpees and jumping jacks, this one focused on future careers in food, beverage and advanced manufacturing and service technician sectors.

“I thought it was really good, I came for electrical,” he said Thursday morning after receiving his completion certificate at the BOCES campus in Batavia. “We learned to read prints and schematics — understanding schematics. It was really helpful, and good troubleshooting. I think that was the best part.”

Perhaps the next best part was that it didn’t cost Burgess a penny. This was a Genesee Valley pre-apprenticeship program that was designed to assist companies with recruitment and training. His employer, Georgia Pacific, sent Burgess to obtain additional skills that he will need for a job as a technician with his company’s maintenance department.

The 29-year-old is moving up the ladder, having been promoted once already. He is a testimony that high school drop-outs — he left Alexander High in 2011 — can go on to become successful in a field.

Advertisements for the program are one thing, Director of Workforce Development Richard Turner said, but “it's another thing when you've got proof positive that this education works, and that you got a start from here.”

“So you're our advertisement, here's the referral for what we're trying to get to get people. And the more and more we do this, more and more people are going to have confidence in us,” he said.

Burgess was one of seven graduates of the program. There were eight guys in the beginning, however, one had some personal issues and left the program, but with a job at Darien Lake, said longtime BOCES teacher Rich Monroe. He emphasized the large pool of jobs available for anyone with some trade skills.

“There's a vast amount of opportunity in advanced manufacturing and food processing, especially in Genesee County. We've got just a cornucopia of different opportunities here, and that's where this all kind of started with economic development, not having enough qualified people to do technical jobs,” he said. “So we started with this two years ago. And last year was our first attempt at doing what will be called boot camp. And it's really to try to address either incumbent workers that are trying to move a step up within the company, maybe they’re maintenance personnel, maybe they’re a production person, and they get the go-ahead from their boss to say, you know, we’d like to have you try this because we see something in you.”

The other situation is when students are recently graduated from school, or maybe they attempted college, and it really wasn't their thing, he said. This was a no-cost opportunity for them to explore something at no risk.

“All they had to do was show up for 96 hours, seven to 11 every day. And the other important thing is that we were there, and each one of them is partnered with a company. So it really is that academic experience, along with hands-on experience. Is this something you think you want to do? We're giving them every opportunity to explore it.”

The program trains students in a wide variety of mechatronic simulation settings to prepare them for in-demand careers throughout the region. Along with the in-class instruction, the students also received paid, on-the-job training and an opportunity for full-time employment with local employers.

The training was provided at no cost to the students and companies due to grants secured by Genesee Community College, Genesee Economic Development Council, and the Workforce Development Institute. Participating employers for the 2022 program include Arctic Refrigeration, Bonduelle, Darien Lake, Georgia Pacific, O-AT-KA Milk Products, Tambe Electric, and Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

The Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program is primarily funded through the SUNY Reimagine Workforce Preparation Training Program and is supported by the Genesee Valley BOCES, Rochester Technology Manufacturers Association, Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program, GCC, Genesee County Economic Development Center, GLOW Workforce Development Board and Workforce Development Institute.

“Thanks to partnerships between our workforce training providers and employers, opportunities like the Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program are creating a fast and successful path for more and more of our talented young people to join rewarding, growing careers in mechatronics,” added GCEDC Vice President of Business and Workforce Development, Chris Suozzi.

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Top photo: Erik Kesler, Joseph DePalma, Zaric Boyce, Joseph Abrams, Brayden Hickey and Greg Burgess; (Back Row) Rich Turner, Jay Lazarony (GLOW Works), Tish Williams (GCC), Bob Coyne (RTMA), Rich Monroe (Genesee Valley BOCES) and Chris Suozzi (GCEDC). Photo above: Graduate Brayden Hickey receives his diploma from Rich Turner as Bob Coyne waits in line to offer congratulations Thursday at Genesee Valley BOCES. Photos by Joanne Beck.

GLOW workforce development program involves 2K hands

By Joanne Beck

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There are kids in every high school who, when it comes time to make that serious decision after graduation, just don’t know what they want to do, Molly Haungs says.

And the GLOW With Your Hands program is a way to introduce kids early on to many career options that don't necessarily require a costly college degree.

“I am a marketing manager, I have a college degree. It took me seven and a half years to get there. That's an expensive mistake, and that was a long time ago. It's an even more expensive mistake now. And I think if we can kind of get some of these kiddos that just aren't really sure what they want to do, in front of businesses and in front of occupations, where they can feel a sense of fulfillment and know that they're gonna make a good honest living. There's just so much pride in that,” Haungs said during a GLOW celebration Wednesday at the site of her employer, Land Pro Equipment. “And this community offers a ton of opportunities. So that's really what the GLOW With Your Hands project is about, it’s aligning potential students with the businesses that have careers that can make it all happen and come together.”

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Haungs and several other partners in the four-county effort (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming) got together to announce the program’s success in attracting those students, and area businesses, to participate.

This year 1,000 students will be learning various skills that are in demand in the workforce, from high-tech construction equipment operators and advanced manufacturing to food production and jobs in the agricultural market.

Land Pro Equipment, in progress with a project at its site at Saile Drive and Call Parkway, was one of the founders of the program and therefore has been a participating business for interested students. Haungs said this kick-off event couldn’t have happened at a better time “as we continue with the construction of our 50,000 square-foot regional training center with sales, service, and training facilities,” she said.

“In order to repair and maintain a large portfolio of John Deere equipment, we need workers with a specific set of skills because these machines use highly sophisticated electronics and other high-end controls. We are finding that GLOW With Your Hands is truly making a difference … I mean, you'll see kids that are driving nails. I got to see some things last year that, you just see a spark in their eye and interest created, and it's just such a good feeling when you see that light in one kid.”

Her company first saw such an initiative at a Finger Lakes Career Fair, and everyone agreed that it should be replicated here, Haungs said. One by one, key players joined in the effort, from Co-Chairmen Jay Lazarony and Chris Suozzi, GLOW With Your Hands School Coordinator Angela Grouse and Melinda Mack, New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals executive director, to marketing committee co-chairman Jim Krencik.

And a win-win became evident: employers provided opportunities for students to learn hands-on skills, students and their families could eliminate college debt, and more trained workers are becoming available for employers seeking people to fill positions.

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As Suozzi said, “The GLOW region has become a hub for workforce development because of events such as GLOW With Your Hands, which provides hands-on experiences in growing and emerging fields that can lead to good paying career opportunities without students having to incur the cost of a college education.”

Students from eighth to 12th grades will come from all four counties for a career boot camp of sorts, learning hands-on skills and trades and having the opportunity to dip their toes in several occupational pools, so to speak.

More than 45 vendors have already committed to participate in hands-on activities and simulations in the advanced manufacturing, agriculture, food production, skilled trades sectors, and various branches of the military.

Mack said the efforts of GLOW With Your Hands represent the impact that workforce development partnerships are having for the next generation of talent.

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“GLOW With Your Hands is a model of how regional stakeholders are collaborating on workforce development initiatives that provide industries across many sectors with a pipeline of prospective skilled workers,” she said. “We are very passionate about workforce development, it is our goal to provide voice, knowledge, and accelerating progress in this field through events and initiatives like GLOW With Your Hands.”

The student participants will converge on Genesee County Fairgrounds on Sept. 27, and, as a result of this program, local residents have “many options for good-paying, family-sustaining jobs,” Lazarony said.

“But the job is not done. We need to focus on the next generation of workers because of the immediate need for skilled workers due to the rate of retiring laborers. It's important to note, that a number of these jobs do not require a four-year college degree. Graduating students can start their careers without incurring or letting their parents incur the cost of college education,” he said.

“There was a time not too long ago that you didn't have a college degree and you couldn't get a good paying job, a family-sustaining job. That's not the case any longer,” he said. “Simply put, employers that report skilled workers now, especially those that can grow within their companies in the coming decades, through our collaboration with the business sector, and stakeholders in government events like GLOW With Your Hands, are helping meet this demand. The future for our regional economy depends on us meeting this demand.”

Haungs also credits Karen Winters of Genesee County’s Business Education Alliance as the one who “kind of got in front of the right people to make this happen.” From there, it snowballed into a much larger territory of workforce development opportunities for students, she said.

“And it was just a trickle-down effect of people, just knowing that we need this, and knowing that this is going to make a difference,” Haungs said.

Top photo from left, Jay Lazarony, Angela Grouse, Molly Haungs, Melinda Mack, Chris Suozzi, and Jim Krencik celebrate the GLOW With Your Hands program, which will involve 1,000 students from Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties at a hands-on training Sept. 27 at Genesee County Fairgrounds. Photos by Joanne Beck.

Students learning career skills in workforce development programs at BOCES

By Press Release

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Press release:

School is out which means expanding Genesee County Workforce Training Programs began to help students prepare for skilled labor jobs with employers in the GLOW region.

The Genesee Valley BOCES has hosted the recently completed Cornell in High School Dairy Processing Bootcamp and the start of the Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship bootcamps that connect high school graduates from the GLOW region with local manufacturers within the dairy processing industry and mechatronics field.

During Cornell in High School, recent high school graduates were provided classroom instruction and on-site training for potential career opportunities with area companies. Students attended the Dairy Processing Bootcamp free of cost and received a $500 value training certificate.

“It was encouraging to see the strong turnout and engagement by students who are ready for careers in dairy processing,” said Cornell Dairy Processing & Marketing Specialist, Anika Zuber Gianforte. “Students gained valuable skills and connections through Cornell and our participating employers that they can use to grow rewarding careers right in their backyard."

The Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program trains students in a wide variety of mechatronic simulation settings to prepare them for in-demand career opportunities in positions such as machine builders, CNC mechanists, electronics technicians, and other positions within the mechatronics field. Students receive in-class instruction along with paid on-the-job training with local employers such as Bounduelle and Tambe Electric.

“Youth and pre-apprenticeship programs allow students to better prepare for high-demand mechatronics careers,” said Rich Turner, Director of Workforce Development for the Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association. “The combination of classroom and on-the-job training is giving students the skills needed for our advanced manufacturing workforce while setting them up for success for years to come.”

Genesee County workforce training programs continue to grow year after year as there is strong demand among area companies for workers. There are hundreds of immediate job openings in the food and beverage manufacturing, advanced manufacturing, skilled trades, and service technician sectors.

“Thanks to our local government partners, companies are expanding their operations by investing in our shovel-ready sites and creating new jobs,” said GCEDC Vice President of Business & Workforce Development Chris Suozzi. “Companies are taking notice of the favorable business ecosystem being built in the GLOW region and the ability to hire into an engaged and ready workforce.”

The workforce development schedule will continue into the school year, with the annual GLOW With Your Hands on Sep. 27 in Batavia.

Submitted photos

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Volunteers sought to help with GLOW With Your Hands

By Press Release

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Press release:

GLOW With Your Hands is on the search for volunteers to help support the day-long, hands-on career exploration event for GLOW Region students on September 27, 2022.

Launched in 2019, GLOW with Your Hands is an annual hands-on career exploration event in which over 800 middle and high school students from 25 school districts in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties learn about high-growth and high-demand career opportunities in agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and the skilled trades among others.

Volunteers are needed in all aspects of the event including hard hat and student bag assembly, post-event clean-up, table and chair setup, and guiding students throughout the day. Volunteers ensure the event runs smoothly in a timely manner. 

“The success of GLOW With Your Hands would not be possible without the help and hard work of our volunteers,” said GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director, Jay Lazarony. “Volunteers make the student experience worthwhile, educational, and enjoyable! There are many moving parts to the event, the more people helping us out, the better this day will be for our future generation.”

Annually, the event averages roughly 100 volunteers, with 50 – 75 individuals working directly with the students. Some volunteers will be paired with students individually for assistance. There are several vendors that rely on volunteers to facilitate a positive learning environment to make sure students are having fun and staying safe.

“Volunteers play an important role to encourage students to participate in hands-on career demonstrations and ask employers questions that can help them understand job opportunities in their own backyard,” said GLOW With Your Hands Volunteer Committee leader Karyn Winters. “We are a volunteer-based event, the people involved are invested in the future of GLOW region students and want them to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Volunteers must be at least 18 years or older. Additional information and volunteer applications are available here:https://www.glowwithyourhands.com/volunteer.

Additionally, GLOW With Your Hands leaders encourage community members to consider joining the program’s organizing committee and sub-committees.

“Our initial volunteers enabled GLOW With Your Hands to become a reality, and we welcome new leaders to support the continued growth of these opportunities,” Lazarony said. “Our organizing committee and sub-committees are always in need of new energy and new ideas as we build the best experience for our youth.”

Coach’s Corner: Tech Wars introductions continue Genesee County's career momentum

By Press Release

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By Chris Suozzi

This has been a great season for introductions – from Von Miller signing with the Bills to seeing over 650 students from our middle schools and high schools at the Tech Wars competition.

I can’t wait to see #40 on the field in Orchard Park. He’s a once-in-a-generation talent joining at just the right time.

But as I work with the growing companies across Genesee County, acquiring talent with a $120 million contract is not the model we follow. We don’t have to!

That’s because there are hundreds of STEM-focused students at our local schools graduating every year. At Tech Wars, they all showed their technical abilities, problem-solving skills, and excitement at taking on new challenges.

These students, and the younger kids that were at STEAM Jam that same day, need to know what opportunities are ahead of them.

In Genesee County, students have the option of great careers that come with a high quality of life and no college debt.

Multiple examples of those opportunities were mixed into the Tech Wars program and all the conversations around the halls.

Genesee Valley BOCES and the electro-mechanical trades program gave live demonstrations of their new mechatronics equipment. This is what our employers are using for re-training their teams, and that students are using to be ready for job shadows and internships the growing pre-apprenticeship program!

This simple activity created so much excitement. Younger students were amazed as graduating seniors showed off the mechatronics equipment, and the opportunity to take a cool hands-on tech learning opportunity.

These programs need repeated communication and momentum. Every year we’re excited to have a new class graduating, and a new group of students discovering what’s possible in the back half of their school years.

It was great to see Bill Hayes and Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning at Tech Wars. Bill and his team are incredibly active in supporting workforce development. When students go through our technical training programs, there are so many skilled trades opportunities that open up. Having people like Bill ready to bring them on board is incredible.

There are also great construction and manufacturing career opportunities. La Fermière announced their project the day before Tech Wars, with plans to hire up to 135 workers in their first 5 years of operations. Many more workers will be involved in building their French yogurt manufacturing facility.

That long-term outlook is critical. At the GCEDC, we’re focused on continuing the momentum of aligning career paths from local companies to our students.

The partnership with our local companies’ workforce demands with custom programs has effectively bridged the gap between students’ career paths and developing skills employers need.

Closing out this school year, the custom programs are expanding.

Cornell in High School will start right after graduation. In less than a week, up to 40 students from Genesee County and surrounding communities will be trained by Cornell in the skills that will launch them into careers at companies like O-AT-KA Milk Products, Upstate Niagara, Yancey’s Fancy and HP Hood.

If students take advantage of this program, they’ll be well on their way to having the financial freedom to not only have a new #40 Miller jersey, but the new truck for the season-opening tailgate. I’ll see them there!

If that sounds good, I encourage students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to contact me at csuozzi@gcedc.com and to get ready for success.

Chris Suozzi is the Vice President of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center

Video previously by The Batavian, previously published

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Workforce Development Board honors participants while GCEDC announces new jobs program

By Howard B. Owens

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Aaron Barnum was among several honorees Thursday morning at Terry Hills by the Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming Workforce Development Board for their achievements in workforce development.

For Barnum, he was honored as a participant who found success working for GO Art! and Genesee Orleans Arc, which eventually led to a permanent job at Arc.

Other awards in Genesee County was Business of the Year to GCEDC for the agency's efforts in workforce development and Shannon Yauchzee for program participation.  There were also awards to individuals, businesses, and agencies in the other three counties.

Chris Suozzi, VP of business development for GCEDC, also spoke with The Batavian about GCEDC's workforce development efforts, which include apprenticeship programs, job shadows, and the annual GLOW With Your Hands event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

He also announced a new program set to begin in June called Cornell in High School.  GCEDC is seeking 40 students to participate, initially at Batavia HS and BOCES but other schools may be included to help achieve the goal of 40 participants.  Cornell will provide training, paid for by GCEDC at a cost of $500 per student, in dairy science and sanitation. The goal is to prepare career-minded students with knowledge and skills they can use to get work right after graduation in the county's food processing facilities. 

Each student who successfully completes the program will receive a certificate from Cornell

"That's kind of the things we're trying to do ... come up with new ideas that are meeting the needs of our employers, especially the big employers," Suozzi said.

Job seekers: Preregister for the Finger Lakes Virtual Career Fair and upload your resume

By Press Release

From Jay Lazarony, executive director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board:

On Thursday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the NYS Department of Labor, GLOW Workforce Development Board, ACCES-VR, Rochester Works, and Finger Lakes Works will host the Finger Lakes Virtual Career Fair.

There will be a Preview Day starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

The nine-county career fair currently has 132 businesses registered.

Job seekers are encouraged to preregister for this event here and be sure to upload your resume.

Attending Businesses

  • KanPak
  • Barilla America NY Inc.
  • Arc of Genesee Orleans
  • United States Gypsum
  • Kodak
  • O-AT-KA Milk Products
  • Arc of Monroe
  • LiDestri Food & Drink
  • IEC Electronics
  • Spectrum
  • Cantel
  • Scepter New York Inc.
  • Aerosafe Global
  • Li-Cycle Corp.
  • Career Start
  • DePaul
  • Optimax Systems
  • Thompson Health
  • Arc of Wayne
  • Six Flags Darien Lake
  • Catholic Charities
  • Wegmans Food Markets
  • First Student
  • The Home Depot
  • TruGreen
  • Nurse Connection Staffing
  • And more!

Job Openings Attending Businesses Seek to Fill

  • Maintenance Technician
  • School Bus Driver
  • Chemical Operator
  • Warehouse Associate
  • CNA/ LPN/ RN
  • CDL Driver
  • Home Health Aide
  • PCA/HHA
  • Cashier
  • Machine Operator
  • Production
  • General Labor
  • Customer Service
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Cook
  • Carpenter Apprentice
  • Security Officer
  • Forklift Driver
  • And more!

For more information email:  VirtualJobFairs@Labor.NY.Gov

'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 www.GLOWWithYourHandsVirtual.com

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.

Video: Hochul at UMMC to announce $200K grant for nursing careers

By Howard B. Owens
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Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited UMMC on Wednesday to announce the hospital will receive a $200,000 state workforce development grant to help people enter the nursing career. The grant is part of an $18 million statewide project announced yesterday by the governor's office as part of Workforce Development Awareness Week.  

Press release from the governor's office:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, during Workforce Development Awareness Week, New York State has been awarded an $18 million federal grant to fund educational opportunities that train New Yorkers for in-demand jobs, support entrepreneurs, and help small businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

New York was one of just eight states to receive the funding -- made available through the CARES Act -- and received the most of any state that was awarded a grant. 

"The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and as we continue to fight against this deadly virus, we must also respond to the economic devastation it has caused," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "With millions of Americans out of work, we must use every resource available to train New Yorkers to compete -- and succeed - in this difficult economic situation.

"Our workforce is the bedrock of our economy, and I know that this funding will help bridge the gap between education and industry, allowing us to build back better by uplifting both individuals looking for jobs and small businesses across the state."  

"We are making success accessible ensuring New Yorkers have the training and skills they need to seek new jobs and opportunities as we continue to battle this pandemic," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Our ongoing workforce development initiative is supporting efforts to improve the economic security of women, youth and other groups that face significant barriers by making job placement more inclusive and leaving no New Yorker behind.

"We are sending a clear message to New Yorkers that they will have the training and skills they need to succeed as we build back better, smarter and stronger for the future."

The New York State Department of Labor will partner with the Office of Workforce Development, Empire State Development, New York's ten Regional Economic Development Councils, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York to allocate the federal grant funding on programs that support New York's continued economic recovery. 

Educational programs will focus on developing the skills needed to succeed in emerging growth industries like tech, logistics, and advanced manufacturing, and supporting entrepreneurs. New York's multipronged approach will include four elements:

1) Education for Hard-Hit NYC: In New York City, which was among the worst-hit COVID-19 communities, the CUNY system will assist in training residents with the digital skills needed for in-demand sectors such as data analytics, cybersecurity, advanced logistics/supply chain, digital marketing and communications, and software development. 

2) "Stay Near, Go Far" at SUNY: At 30 community colleges across the State, SUNY will leverage its existing "Stay Near, Go Far" initiative to train New Yorkers in high growth industries, including technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing, and provide them with the entrepreneurial skills needed to open their own businesses.

3) Entrepreneurship Boot Camps: Building on its existing resources, Empire State Development will host a series of intensive workshops and boot camps to train entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to run their own business during - and after - the pandemic. 

4) Industry Focus, Regional Results: The Department of Labor will issue a competitive Request for Proposals and work with New York State's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils to identify industry-driven programs that either train job seekers to meet current local employment needs or are designed to address future economic and workforce development needs.

Gov. Cuomo announces $3.4M in more funding for workplace development

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that 61 New York State businesses, community colleges and community-based organizations will receive funding for workforce development totaling $3.4 million as part of the state's historic $175 million Workforce Development Initiative.

Professional training is expected to provide 2,464 New Yorkers with in-demand skills. Grant funds are provided by the Department of Labor, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and The State University of New York. Since launching in May, nearly $6.5 million has been awarded through the Workforce Development Initiative.

"These awards will help ensure that thousands of workers across the state are not only prepared for the jobs of today, but are ready to take on the jobs of tomorrow," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's workforce must adapt to the rapidly changing, modern economy and the Workforce Development Initiative will give our workers the edge they need to stay competitive."

"Investing in workforce development is essential to provide New Yorkers with the skills they need for the jobs of the future," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "In order to keep up with the needs of the labor market, New York must lead the way to train workers in advanced manufacturing, health care, and energy to close the skills gap and create a pipeline of talent for employers.

"This funding awarded as part of the Workforce Development Initiative targets resources to ensure job training is available in our communities for good paying jobs now and in the future that will continue to move our economy forward."

New York's Regional Economic Development Councils play a key role in recommending applications for funding, based on regional economic needs and opportunities. Businesses and organizations from eight REDC regions receiving Workforce Development awards include:

  • Finger Lakes: Berry Global, Bonduelle Americas, Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic, Creative Food Ingredients, Cutco Corporation, Harbec, Lifetime Assistance, Markin Tubing, McAlpin Industries, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Optimax, Orolia, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Park Ridge Nursing Home, Pfisterer Lapp, Prestolite Electric, Rochester General Hospital, Rochester General Long Term Care, Spectracom, University of Rochester Medical Center, Unity Hospital.

The professional training projects are supported by SUNY community colleges across the state, including: Adirondack, Broome, Corning, Dutchess, Fashion Institute of Technology, Genesee, Jamestown, Monroe, Nassau, North Country, Tompkins Cortland, and Westchester. Projects funded through NYS Department of Labor include sites in the Finger Lakes, Long Island and New York City. Projects funded through NYSERDA are all located in New York City.

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "SUNY's community colleges continue to be the hubs for job training and individualized education as we prepare our students to meet the needs of New York's employers. I applaud the Governor for continuing his deep commitment to our state's workforce to ensure that any employer looking for skilled workers can look no further than right here in New York."

Video: GLOW With Your Hands gives students hands-on experience with skilled trades

By Howard B. Owens
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Tuesday, at the fairgrounds, more than 800 students from schools throughout Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming counties had a chance to try out several skilled trades first hand in the region's first-ever "GLOW With Your Hands" event.

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