High-Tech Manufacturing Careers Promoted to Buffalo Niagara Students


High-Tech Manufacturing Careers Promoted to Buffalo Niagara Students

Dream It, Do It WNY Welcomes Charter School for Applied Technologies

BUFFALO–The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance today announced that Charter School for Applied Technologies’ participation in Dream It, Do It WNY’s expansion into 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.

CSAT was the first school to sign on to the program and has been very active in promoting high-tech manufacturing careers to its students. DIDI WNY Erie and Niagara County Coordinator Susan M. Witt was the keynote speaker for the ‘Career Convention’ in February 2013. High school students participated in a hands on ‘Lean Manufacturing with Legos’ exercise in March. CSAT’s participation in DIDI WNY will continue to expose students to manufacturing through in-class presentations, guest speakers and ‘manufacturing in action’ tours during the new school year.

“In the last three months, DIDI WNY has exposed 2,500 middle and high school students to high-tech manufacturing careers,” said Nadine Powell, Director of Business Development at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “We welcome CSAT as one of several school districts eager to change the outdated perception of manufacturing and offer its students clear pathways to available careers in the region.”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 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

With most local manufacturers reporting a ‘moderate to severe’ shortage of qualified talent, DIDI WNY addresses the skills gap through a collaborative effort been Buffalo Niagara manufacturers and schools.
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“Dream It, Do It’s philosophy has brought new light to CSAT’s classrooms, a new understanding of the manufacturing sector, and a new vision of the future for many students,” said Justina Fetterly, Director of Communications for CSAT. “Our goal is to help mold students not only for their future, but for the future of Buffalo. CSAT has already generated more interest in the manufacturing sector and looks forward to creating even more success with Dream It, Do It’s support.”

Critically-needed manufacturing positions include: welders, industrial mechanics, machine operators, floor supervisors, engineering positions and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinists. DIDI WNY uses regional marketing and programming to address the outdated stereotypes associated with manufacturing careers and raise awareness about available jobs.

“Today we lack qualified candidates to fill family-sustaining employment positions within our local manufacturers. This is due in large part because for the last 35 years our government and schools systems have stopped promoting skilled trades at the high school level,” said Chris Sansone, president of Buffalo Niagara Manufacturers Association. “Unfortunately, the news doesn’t get any better. In its latest study, McKinsey & Co. has projected that by the year 2020, Western New York will need to fill approximately 16,000 manufacturing jobs as our aging workforce exits for retirement. As a result, the time is now for us to engage our youth and stir up interest in advanced manufacturing and promote advanced manufacturing skilled trades in our high schools. We have reached a critical juncture in Western New York manufacturing and we need to act now. Please join the BNMA in supporting the ‘Dream It Do It’ initiative.”

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 continued to expand 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 will support 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