Dream it, Do It: Adopt-a-School program

It’s no secret that manufacturers are facing an unprecedented workforce shortage. Due to aging current employees and a lack of qualified candidates entering the workforce, many companies are feeling the pressure of addressing the workforce issue.

The WNY Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) estimates that there will be 17,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs in our region by 2020.

The Partnership’s Manufacturers Council has made workforce development our top priority this year. The Council is tackling the issue head on by developing baseline skillsets for new hires, ensuring upskilling opportunities for incumbent employees, and growing the manufacturing pipeline.

Though all three of these elements are critical, the Partnership has taken on a new role this year in growing the pipeline of manufacturing workers. We are working with the Dream It, Do It program to encourage young people to pursue manufacturing and STEM careers.

DIDIDream it, Do It (DIDI) is a national program whose goal is to expose students to the many benefits of manufacturing careers- higher pay on average, better benefits, family-sustaining wages without a four year degree, and many others. The Partnership is working with DIDI WNY, the local program chapter, to reach out to students in Erie and Niagara counties this school year.

The focus this year is on DIDI’s Adopt-a-School program. This pairs up a manufacturer with a local high school and allows them to engage students in a number of ways, both in the factory and in the classroom. It allows manufacturers to creatively show students the many opportunities available to them, right in their backyards.

Too often, students are not encouraged to pursue trades and manufacturing careers due to outdated stereotypes of the industry. Today’s manufacturers operate some of the cleanest, safest, and most high-tech facilities in the world, and they pay higher wages and give great benefits. Buffalo and WNY was built on manufacturing, and the DIDI program aims to show young people (and parents!) what great opportunities STEM careers can provide.

If you would like to get involved in the Adopt-a-School program, click here to view our sign up form, or simply would like more information about DIDI, please contact Barrett Erbe. We are looking forward to a successful year implementing the program.