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Higgins: $2.97 million for American Apprenticeship Initiative of Western New York

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Thu, Sep 10th 2015 12:30 pm

Federal grant to United Way of Buffalo & Erie County to support apprenticeship opportunities

Local business partners include Ford Stamping Plant, SolarCity, PCB Piezotronics

Congressman Brian Higgins announced $2,975,884 in federal funding for Western New York through the U.S. Department of Labor's American Apprenticeship Grants Program. The grant will support the American Apprenticeship Initiative of Western New York under the leadership of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

"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," Higgins said. "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."

Through the Apprenticeship Initiative of WNY, the United Way and its partners will establish registered apprenticeship programs at the Ford Stamping Plant, SolarCity and PCB Piezotronics. In total, a minimum of 300 registered apprenticeships will be created over the next five years. The goal of the project is to provide hands-on training and educational support to those seeking job opportunities in the growing advanced manufacturing industry. The aim is to reach those underrepresented in the workforce including, but not limited to, veterans, diverse populations and individuals with disabilities.

"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. "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), SolarCity (Buffalo), PCB Piezotronics (Depew), 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 state's Department of Labor.

The United Way was one of only 46 applicants nationwide to be awarded funding. 

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