It's a key focus of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and its plan for the Buffalo Billion. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us how Erie Community College is helping recruit students for the advanced manufacturing field to keep it going strong into the future.
WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Hundreds of students from Western New York high schools went to college this week for ECC's Engineering Technology Days.
They're all taking technology courses, and ECC helps show them the opportunities that lie ahead in advanced manufacturing.
"It's a program we've run for three years. It seems to be successful in keeping the high school kids in those tech programs in high school because they see a path to college and to work," said Joanne Colmerauer, ECC's Academic Career Pathways director.
That path came to life as they toured various programs offered by ECC and a local manufacturing company.
Colmerauer said, "These companies are happy to host these kids because they're saying their workforces are aging, there's lots of open positions, and they're eager to show these kids the opportunities."
"We have 1,700 manufacturers in Western New York and all of them are looking for skilled talent," said Nadine Powell of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
The partnership sponsors "Dream It, Do It, Western New York" - an initiative to promote the advanced manufacturing field to the next generation. They spoke with students about career possibilities.
"You can have a career where you have a great wage and you're also making really neat things at the end of the day," said Powell.
Many students say the program help put their future into focus.
"It makes me very comfortable about what I'm going to do, and I'm excited," said Zachary El-Sharif, a Tonawanda High School student.
"I can get a job right away, and some of the stuff they're making is awesome," said Jacob Southwrth, a Pioneer Central School student.
And several said the next stop on their career path might be classes at ECC.