The reopening of businesses following relaxing of many COVID related restrictions has led to “Now Hiring” signs popping up all over Western New York. Along with hundreds of minimum wage jobs needing to be filled, many local companies are also having trouble filling higher wage positions that have significant career advancement opportunities. The problem for many hopeful applicants is finding these higher paying jobs and gaining the skills necessary to apply. Goodwill of Western New York is looking to bridge this gap through their new Goodskills Career Builder which began accepting applicants this week.
Goodwill of Western New York, who has been providing Workforce Development Training in Western New York for over 100 years, has seen its fair share of changes in workforce over the years but has never quite seen anything like what the region is facing right now.
“Our workforce development teams are constantly meeting motivated and hardworking people that have been working several years in minimum wage jobs with no career path to higher pay,” stated Thomas Ulbrich, Goodwill of WNY’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “Often times it’s because they either don’t know how to find these higher level positions or lack only a few skills that could put them on a much more rewarding path.”
Thanks in part to a grant from the Western New York Workforce Development Challenge – funded by Empire State Development and The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation – Goodskills Career Builder was designed in partnership with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute and several local employers in Advanced Manufacturing and Technology. By designing the training with employers, participants will get the exact skill set that employers are looking for. During the four-week training, participants will also be provided a direct connection to these hiring employers prepared to offer graduates with employment that has a clear career pathway to higher wages and advancement or be placed into advanced training with a Goodskills partner.
Another unique part of the curriculum is that participants will have access to a Goodskills Career Coach for up to three years after graduation. The Career Coach will help graduates overcome obstacles that may prevent them from maintaining their position and help them advance in their desired career path. These coaches have access to a wide range of resources that can assist with transportation, affordable childcare, and referrals to additional sector specific training.
Goodskills Career Builder is open to any adult over 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent residing in Erie or Niagara County who is authorized to work in the United States, and is currently looking for a higher-paying job in advanced manufacturing or technology. There is currently no cost associated with participating, and graduates will receive $500 for work completed during the hands-on portion of the training.
Training sessions will begin in September 2021 at Goodwill’s 1119 William Street workforce training center in Buffalo. Interested applicants can learn more and apply by visiting Goodwillwny.org/Goodskills or by calling an Intake Specialist at (716) 854-3494.
About Today's Goodwill
Goodwill of Western New York is striving to be a trusted workforce development leader in the region, recognized for embracing next and best practices. We’re applying creative and innovative approaches to establish high-performing programs. Data, best practices and trusted metrics drive our decisions to improve outcomes for those we serve. Flexibility is important to our organization as we continually adapt to the needs of Western New York residents and businesses.
A leading not-for-profit agency in Western New York with an operating budget of $11 million and 200+ employees, Goodwill of Western New York improves the lives of individuals and families by connecting people with quality employment so they can achieve economic stability and self-sustainability. They help individuals act upon their full potential by providing the right tools needed to build successful careers and make the most of their strengths. In doing so, Goodwill develops productive employees, helps businesses in the WNY community grow and helps position the region for success.
Goodwill is uniquely positioned to respond to the employment issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic with outreach, recruitment and training. 90% of low-income workers in the City of Buffalo who lost jobs due to COVID-19 live within five miles of Goodwill’s William Street location. And the opportunity at this point in time is extraordinary -- an $8.5 billion potential increase in collective wages over 40 years for people of color could be realized, generating economic impacts across all of WNY for years to come.