Buffalo School District Educates Students About High-Tech Manufacturing Careers


Buffalo School District Educates Students About High-Tech Manufacturing Careers

Dream It, Do It WNY Continues to Expand in Erie and Niagara Counties

BUFFALO–The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance today announced that the Buffalo School District will participate in Dream It, Do It WNY’s expansion throughout Erie and Niagara Counties. Dream It, Do It WNY (DIDI WNY) is designed to engage, educate and employ the next generation of advanced manufacturing talent. The Buffalo School District is one of nine school districts currently partaking in DIDI WNY.

“Despite the skills gap, manufacturing is alive and well in Buffalo Niagara,” said Nadine M. Powell, Director of Business Development at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “Whether in automotive, food processing or nanotechnology, careers in manufacturing offer a variety of opportunities to design, produce, or sell the world’s essential products. We welcome the Buffalo School District as one of several school districts eager to change the outdated perception of manufacturing and offer its students clear pathways to available careers in the region.”

DIDI WNY has exposed 3,300 middle and high school students to high-tech manufacturing careers. With most local manufacturers reporting a ‘moderate to severe’ shortage of qualified talent, Buffalo Niagara manufacturers are eager to do something about their struggle to find employees.

“The Buffalo School District is thrilled to be entering into a new partnership with DIDI WNY,” said Ben Hilligas, Site Facilitator of Say Yes Buffalo and East High School #307. “Providing our students with real exposure to the many local opportunities in advanced manufacturing adds another important dimension to their education and development. Additionally, demonstrating post-secondary educational pathways which can lead to these careers allows our students to make more educated and empowered decisions about their futures.”

DIDI WNY aims to:

• Provide a clear understanding of manufacturing and career opportunities for students interested in a variety of fields, including: sales, marketing, operations, and engineering as well as vital production roles in machining and welding

• Promote manufacturing and career opportunities to students, parents, career counselors and educators through hands-on experiences such as facility tours, in-classroom experiences, learning labs, industry internships and STEM-related competitions

• Create clear educational pathways (as well as internship and tuition reimbursement opportunities) for students interested in pursuing various manufacturing-related training, certificate or degree programs after high school

The DIDI WNY campaign addresses the outdated stereotypes associated with manufacturing careers and raises awareness about available jobs. Critically needed positions include: welders, industrial mechanics, machine operators, floor supervisors, engineering positions and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinists.

DIDI WNY creates strategic partnerships to recruit and train a qualified manufacturing workforce pipeline by aligning manufacturers, school districts, colleges, universities, workforce investment boards, economic development entities, community-based organizations that work with young people, as well as local, state and federal governments.

Dream It, Do It has expanded throughout Chautauqua, Alleghany, Erie, Cattaraugus and Niagara counties since 2009. DIDI WNY is supported by the WNY Regional Economic Development (REDC) through a $500,000, three-year grant for the five counties. The grant is structured to match private-sector dollars, so fundraising supports the program.

Dream It Do It was conceived by the National Association of Manufacturers as a way to help modern manufacturers attract employees with the right mix of skills. The program launched in 2005 and has expanded throughout 17 regions. DIDI WNY aims to provide Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Allegany County manufacturers with a labor force that has the skill and training levels required to meet their demands.

The Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance (BNMA) is a non-profit organization representing manufacturers in the Buffalo Niagara region. Originally started in the 1940s, the BNMA has evolved into a modern, progressive manufacturing association. The mission of BNMA is to grow members companies while helping WNY thrive by being a national source for precision manufacturing.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.

For Press Inquiries, Please Contact Grant Loomis, Vice President, Government Affairs at gloomis@thepartnership.org or 716-541-1736