Regional Manufacturers Educate Future Workforce

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 26, 2013

Regional Manufacturers Educate Future Workforce

Dream It Do It WNY Reaches 4,000 Students in Erie and Niagara Counties

BUFFALO–The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance today officially kicked off Dream It, Do It WNY in 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 through hands-on interaction with industry guest speakers, facility tours, learning labs and STEM-related activities. Students, manufacturers and elected officials gathered at ECC North for the first ever multi-school district event.

DIDI WNY has exposed 4,000 middle and high school students to high-tech manufacturing careers in Erie and Niagara Counties. 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. By addressing the outdated stereotypes associated with manufacturing careers, DIDI WNY raises awareness about critically needed available positions including: welders, industrial mechanics, machine operators, floor supervisors, engineering positions and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinists.

“By aligning manufacturers, school districts, colleges, universities, workforce investment boards, economic development entities and community-based organizations as well as local, state and federal governments, strategic partnerships are created to recruit and train a qualified manufacturing workforce pipeline,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “It’s important to change the way students think about manufacturing and offering clear career pathways. The collaboration between private, public and educational partners is what makes DIDI WNY possible in order to address the skills gap.”

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

“Dream It Do It is addressing a critical need of manufacturers throughout our region by working with our school systems and community partners to build the manufacturing talent pipeline,” said Todd Tranum, President & CEO of Dream It Do It Western New York. “Our work could not be accomplished without strong partnerships with and support from organizations such as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. The Partnership has been a leader in helping drive the Dream It Do It program in the Erie and Niagara Counties.”

The following school districts are currently participating in DIDI WNY:

Erie County:
Buffalo Public Schools
Charter School for Applied Technologies
Cheektowaga Central School District
Kenmore-Tonawanda School District
Lakeshore Central School District Williamsville Central School District

Niagara County:

Lockport City School District
Newfane Central School District
Niagara Falls City School District

“Dream It, Do It” is filling the skills gap between job openings and job seekers,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. “The positive economic changes we are seeing in Western New York will continue to grow as we coordinate and collaborate with advanced manufacturers to provide them with the skilled workforce they need to maintain and expand their businesses.”

“Dream it, do it’ helps us match our skilled college graduates with in-demand jobs found right here in Western New York,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council Co-chair. “Dream it, Do it ‘invests in our economic future by encouraging the transformative growth of our advanced manufacturers. We are creating a brighter future for our children as we train them to be a part of this highly skilled work force.”

“I’d like to thank the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance for their commitment to the future of our city youth,” said Byron Brown, Mayor of the City of Buffalo. “Through this vital partnership, Dream It, Do It WNY is introducing the next generation to STEM and manufacturing related fields.”

“All education is good education, but in recent years we’ve increasingly come to recognize that there is a high premium attached to education that equips today’s students with the job skills most likely to be in demand in the future,” said Paul Dyster, Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls. “If Western New York’s educational, business and government communities are able to come together as one to identify areas of future opportunity–and advanced manufacturing is certainly one of these in our region–this could give us a competitive advantage that is decisive not just in the future lives of today’s students, but in the economic life of the region as a whole.”

“In order for Western New York to fully participate in a rapidly changing global economy, we need the very best prepared workforce which Dream It Do It will help us achieve,” said Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, chairman of the N.Y.S. Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry. “I’m glad that several school districts and schools I represent are already signed on to participate in Dream It Do It Buffalo Niagara.”

“It’s no secret that the job market for recent high school and college graduates is bleak,” said Assemblyman Ray Walter. “The expansion of ‘Dream It, Do It WNY’ will go a long way in helping young men and women decide what the next step in their career path could be. I’m excited to see this program’s possibilities and what the future could be for students.”

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. 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. In 2013, DIDI WNY formalized a collaboration with Say Yes Buffalo in participating City of Buffalo schools to encourage young people to pursue post-secondary education and training opportunities with a purpose.

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 or 716-541-1736