Buffalo is one of 21 cities to win funding through the federal $1 billion Build Back Better Challenge. The $25 million award announced Aug. 31 will be implemented through Empire State Development and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council in partnership with University at Buffalo Regional Institute.
Goodwill will use its $3.6 million allotment to expand Goodskills Career Builder, working in underserved communities with chronically unemployed or underemployed individuals to prepare them for manufacturing careers. The funding will expand on a pilot the nonprofit ran last year to assist Erie County residents with workforce readiness training, financial literacy and interviewing and resume skills before placing them in jobs. The pilot placed about 100 people in manufacturing or technology related jobs. This funding will allow Goodskills to expand into Niagara and Chautauqua counties.
“We’re focused on not just getting people a minimum wage job, but something that will offer them a career,” said Tom Ulbrich, CEO of Goodwill of Western New York. “These are in-demand jobs that don’t require a college education but are higher-paying.”
Randi Murphy, vice president of workforce development and human resources for Goodwill, said the program has wraparound services including a career coach that supports the placed employee for three years post-placement. Murphy said they have about 20 core manufacturing partner companies that are committed to continued training for entry-level employees.
Read Gov. Kathy Hochul's press release here
Read Buffalo Business First article by Katie Anderson here