Northland Workforce Training Center announced the establishment of multiple new community partnerships to provide valuable expanded services to students, and upskilling opportunities for incumbent workers.
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature workforce initiative under the Buffalo Billion, Northland Workforce Training Center (NWTC) is an industry-driven, public-private partnership between employers, educational institutions, community and faith-based organizations and state and local government focused on closing the skills gap of the local labor pool, and creating economic on-ramps to training, co-ops, internships, apprenticeships and permanent employment for Western New Yorkers seeking high-paying advanced manufacturing and energy careers.
The vision of NWTC is to be the premiere model of a public-private partnership providing education, training and workforce development services that are industry-driven and employment-focused. Its mission is to advance the economic well-being of Western New York by developing and maintaining a skilled and diverse workforce to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors, while providing opportunities to job seekers as well as pathways to gainful employment, career advancement and economic sustainability for Western New Yorkers.
NWTC provides a state-of-the-art facility offering for-credit, certificate and degree programs through its educational partners, SUNY Alfred State College and SUNY Erie Community College. Students can enroll into certificate and degree programs at little to no out-of-pocket expense to students based on need, and access NWTC’s intense wrap-around and supportive services to increase their likelihood of success.
In two short years, NWTC enrolled more than 200 students with 50% minority representation and 10% female representation. Seventy percent of NWTC’s student body reside in low-income communities, while 72% of students received federal or state financial aid. Eighty-one percent of NWTC graduates have been placed into employment with average starting salaries of $36,000 annually. These placements have a combined economic impact of more than $2.5 million in wages. NWTC currently has a 60% program completion rate, which is double the national average (30%). NWTC currently has approximately 275 students enrolled, and is actively recruiting for the spring semester, which begins January 2021.
“Our model holistically supports our students academically, financially and personally, and we plan to build on these results with an even larger student body in 2021, and achieve even more placements of our students into full-time jobs that offer family-sustaining wages and benefits,” stated Stephen Tucker, president and CEO, Northland Workforce Training Center.
Thanks to some newly established partnerships, NWTC’s student success services will now include access to a professional employment agency, financial empowerment training, smoking cessation education, and advanced training for incumbent workers.
“Northland Workforce Training Center is the centerpiece of the Buffalo Billion’s workforce development strategy and has become a success story in two short years,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “Building back better for a post-pandemic future begins right here at Northland with valuable job training and connecting potential employees with employers. The new community partnerships announced today will help foster these opportunities and allow students to reach their full potential.”
Remedy Intelligent Staffing is now Northland’s exclusive staffing partner. Remedy is working with NWTC graduates to place them in highly desired jobs at companies in the manufacturing and light industrial sectors. Remedy has colleagues on-site at NWTC to develop relationships with students, to help train them on soft skills, and match their individual skills and experiences with its business partner’s needs. Remedy will also serve individuals in the surrounding communities, as well as friends and family members of NWTC’s past and present students.
“Remedy is proud to partner with Northland as their exclusive staffing placement provider. Both organizations share in the mission to educate, to provide opportunities, and to employ manufacturing professionals in the communities where we live and do business. We are already seeing exceptional results placing students in meaningful careers and making a difference in lives,” said Jeff Weber, president of Remedy Intelligent Staffing.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, known as LISC, is one of the country's largest social enterprises supporting projects and programs to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents. LISC WNY provided Northland with a grant to become a Financial Opportunity Center, to provide students with long-term financial and employment coaching, along with other tailored supportive services.
Nationally, LISC supports 87 FOCs that work with more than 20,000 people every year.
“Among our top priorities, both in WNY and across the country, is partnering with organizations that are focused on inclusive economic development and preparing the work force for quality jobs,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC national president and CEO.
Julie Barrett O’Neill, executive director of LISC WNY, said, “Northland Workforce Training Center is an ideal location to bring the LISC FOC program to. NWTC President and CEO Stephen Tucker has first-hand experience with the LISC FOC program from his work in Cincinnati, and there are strong agency partnerships already in place at NWTC. LISC WNY will provide $125,000 in capacity building funding as well as software and technical support to allow the Northland Staff to integrate financial coaching throughout every student’s educational journey.”
NWTC will be strengthening its existing tobacco-free policy to protect the health and wellness of students and employees. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., and studies show the smoking prevalence among manufacturing workers is 21%. Cicatelli Associates Inc (CAI) donated 12 tobacco-free signs to NWTC that will support this new health and wellness initiative. NWTC’s tobacco-free policy will include worksites and outdoor spaces to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and promote tobacco cessation amongst all NWTC employees, students and visitors. This effort will assist in reducing tobacco and vaping use by young adults, a population heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. CAI’s “Reach Tobacco Action Group” members will work with NWTC to develop a policy and education plan over the next several months that will lead to it becoming a smoke-free campus by July 1, 2021.
“By protecting its students, workers and visitors from the hazards of tobacco, NWTC is making great strides to promote health and wellness,” said Stan Martin, project director of TFCEN and reach projects at CAI. “This is a tremendous partnership! We truly believe that, by improving the health of our young workforce, we ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the residents in the City of Buffalo.”
Northland also announced a new partnership with Fresenius Kabi, located on Grand Island. Fresenius Kabi is a global health care company that specializes in lifesaving medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition. Its products and services are used to help care for critically and chronically ill patients. Fresenius Kabi recently purchased new equipment and enrolled several employees in SUNY Erie’s Mechatronics program at Northland to be trained. Upon completion of the course work, these employees will receive a certificate that will help them advance their careers at Fresenius Kabi.
“Fresenius Kabi is excited to begin our partnership with Northland Workforce Training Center,” said Tony Pavell, plant manager at the Grand Island production site. “With the continuous advances in today’s manufacturing technology, SUNY Erie’s mechatronics program at Northland is uniquely suited to provide Fresenius Kabi employees with training to stay current with today’s highly automated equipment. This program allows us to advance our employees’ skills quickly while complementing the training they receive through our internal programs.”
For more information, visit northlandwtc.org.