Goodwill of Western New York honored members of the most recent graduating class of its Goodskills Career Builder, a targeted workforce development initiative funded by one of only 21 national Build Back Better Regional Challenge awards through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to grow Western New York’s Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem through Workforce, Innovation, and Infrastructure.
Joined by friends, family, and members of the community, graduates heard from several speakers celebrating their completion of the rigorous four-week Goodskills training that combines classroom and hands-on experience to fill a growing need for skilled workers in manufacturing at Chautauqua County employers.
Joining those in attendance was Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist who provided the keynote address. “Jamestown has a long history and growing presence of manufacturers constantly looking for motivated individuals with the skillsets that Goodskills Career Builder provides,” said Sundquist. “We are fortunate to have Goodwill of Western New York operating the program here in Jamestown joining the many other great workforce development programs helping to grow our manufacturing workforce.”
In collaboration with local employers and trainers, Goodskills Career Builder prepares workers for careers in Advanced Manufacturing through four-weeks of training provided free of charge to residents of Chautauqua County. As part of the training, participants complete a hands-on experiential learning component at Jamestown Advanced Products. By focusing specifically on careers in manufacturing, Goodskills has the dual benefit of helping to fill a growing need for skilled workers among businesses and providing opportunities for people to advance from minimum or low-wage jobs into higher paying careers.
Designed in partnership with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI) and currently running sessions in Erie, Niagara, and Chautauqua Counties, Goodskills has graduated more than 175 participants with nearly 80% of graduates successfully placed in jobs with career advancement opportunities. Previous Jamestown cohort graduates have been placed at a number local businesses including Ellison Bronze, Wavepoint, and Bush Industries. Participants also 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 Chautauqua County who is authorized to work in the United States, and is currently looking for a higher-paying job in advanced manufacturing. There is currently no cost associated with participating, and graduates will receive $500 for work completed during the hands-on portion of the training. The sessions are held in the Hultquist Library on the Jamestown Community College Campus at 260 Curtis Street in Jamestown.
Read the Post-Journal story here.