As Buffalo’s economy continues to grow, needs for a skilled labor force are on the rise. In order to supply the Advanced Manufacturing industry with suitable employees, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has applied for, and been granted, $2,975,884 in federal funding that supports the American Apprenticeship Initiative of Western New York. The money is being allocated via the US Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Grants Program.
“Oftentimes the best way to learn is through a hands-on approach and the best way to obtain quality employment is by demonstrating skill though experience,” said Congressman Higgins. “This initiative, put forth by the United Way and its partners, provides valuable linkages that give job seekers the opportunity to pick up valuable workplace experience while giving participating companies access to an eager, trained workforce.”
Registered Apprenticeship programs will be set up at the Ford Stamping Plant, SolarCity and PCB Piezotronics. The Apprenticeship Initiative of WNY will be comprised of at least 300 Registered Apprenticeships, which will roll out over the course of five years. Workers looking for hands-on training and instruction will be given the tools that they need to enter seamlessly into the employment pools. The programs will ensure that veterans, diverse populations and individuals with disabilities will be given opportunities to join the ranks of these corporations.
“As the manufacturing industry continues to grow in Western New York, this apprenticeship initiative will ensure that we have a knowledgeable workforce ready to fill jobs,” said Michael Weiner, President of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (the local non-profit was one of only 46 applicants nationwide to be awarded funding). “People who may have thought these jobs were out of reach will now have an opportunity to learn the required skills first hand while also fulfilling the needs of local companies.”
Local partners in the project involve a variety of business, education, labor, government and community agencies including: Ford Stamping Plant (Woodlawn, NY), SolarCity (Buffalo, NY) and PCB Piezotronics (Depew, NY), Buffalo Public Schools, Erie Community College, Buffalo Urban League, UAW 897, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Supportive Service Providers, Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Development Consortium, Workforce Development Institute and the NYS Department of Labor.