Local Partnership Creates Job Opportunities with New Pre-Apprenticeship Program in Manufacturing

Posted on December 1, 2015


Today, Work Train announced a new workforce development initiative, the Manufacturing Careers Partnership, which brings together the resources of CenterState CEO, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), the Central New York Technology Development Organization (TDO), SUNY Educational Opportunity Center (SUNY EOC), SUNY Onondaga Community College (SUNY OCC), and a select group of community organizations. Together this partnership is launching a pre-apprenticeship program within the manufacturing industry.

The program will provide foundational skills to un-and-underemployed residents in the greater Syracuse community, link them to entry-level employment within the manufacturing industry, and offer supports to workers and employers to help them retain employment and advance skill sets. This initiative, made possible by $1.2 million in state grant funds secured by New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe, will begin this summer.

“Manufactures here in Central New York are struggling to fill entry-level positions at their companies,” said New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe. “I am working with our community partners to focus on a new solution that connects local workers with these local businesses. Building a bridge between these two groups will not only drive growth in the manufacturing sector, but also create new opportunities for workers with a manufacturing background and workers seeking the skills necessary for success in this industry.”

Initially, the partnership will target residents of Onondaga County to address workforce needs for entry-level workers at traditional manufacturers. After establishing the pre-apprenticeship program as a strong foundation, the partnership will develop subsequent programs and resources to address higher-skilled positions over the long term, with expanded programs to support workforce needs within the advanced manufacturing industry.

The Manufacturing Careers Partnership is the latest initiative of Work Train, a collaborative led and administered by CenterState CEO and funded by local foundations and local and state government. Work Train brings together partners to develop workforce solutions that meet needs of area employers and un-and-underemployed workers, alike. Work Train’s success is the result of strong relationships with employers, education and training providers, and community organizations. It seeks to connect community members to jobs that show persistent and robust demand for workers, as well as opportunities for career advancement. Work Train’s model builds on CenterState CEO’s successful pilot programs, Green Train and Health Train.

“Through this new partnership we are building on the success of Work Train’s dual client model, creating opportunities for community members and meeting the needs of employers at the same time,” said Dominic Robinson, vice president of community prosperity at CenterState CEO. “We do this by bringing together partners, aligning existing resources and facilitating workforce solutions to create new opportunities for the community.”

Within the Manufacturing Careers Partnership, CenterState CEO Work Train staff will serve as facilitators between community and educational partners and companies recruiting candidates. SUNY EOC and SUNY OCC will team up to deliver the pre-apprenticeship training to employees. MACNY, TDO, and SUNY OCC, will work together to provide training and ongoing support to employers to help them create new career pathways and help employees build their skill sets.

“Most people don’t realize that the manufacturing sector is growing again in Central New York,” says Laura Miller, general manager of Darco Manufacturing. “There’s a vibrant network of small to mid-size companies who are doing well. Collectively, perhaps our biggest challenge is connecting to hidden talent we have right here in our community. Many of us need entry-level workers today, and we need those workers to be prepared to step into skilled positions in the coming years as our older workers retire.”

The partnership seeks to align a reemerging manufacturing sector in the region with a pool of untapped talent in the region. Recruitment for this summer’s first pre-apprenticeship training program will begin this June. The Partnership anticipates working with 40 to 60 people through December of 2015 and will build capacity to train and advance 300 workers through 2017.

“Manufacturers will be well served with the launch of this pre-apprenticeship program, which fills a gap within our community,” said Randy Wolken, president of MACNY - The Manufacturers Association. “We need a solution for creating a pipeline of entry-level workers for our manufacturers and employers. As quality, motivated workers come into the industry, MACNY and others will then work with employers to help them advance their workers into areas which require advanced technology and new skills proficiency.”

“CNY has strong history in quality manufacturing. That spirit was once part of our whole community, now as we reintroduce manufacturing to a relatively new generation we are confident that this talent and creativity will have tremendous impact on the manufacturing of today,” says Tim Penix, vice president of the Syracuse SUNY EOC and host site of the pre-apprenticeship program. "This effort will assist the CNY Manufacturers in creating a new pipeline of quality manufacturing workers.”

All programs developed by the Manufacturing Careers Partnership will be designed to employer specifications, based upon employer input. The curriculum will incorporate feedback from industry groups, MACNY and TDO, and SUNY OCC will finalize program elements by facilitating an employer-led curriculum design process.

“For this program to be successful, we need the buy-in and support from employers,” said Casey Crabill, president of SUNY OCC. “We need businesses to help us shape the curriculum. We are fully committed to helping design and co-deliver a program that is employer-driven.”

Those interested in participating in this program can contact Danielle Szabo: dszabo@centerstateceo.com or at 315.254.5722.

About Work Train
Work Train is a countywide platform dedicated to fostering career opportunities for un-and-underemployed community residents within target industries. Work Train is staffed by CenterState CEO and guided by a collaborative of leaders from business, philanthropy, economic and workforce development, training and education, local government, and community-based organizations. Funding has been provided by the United Way of CNY, Allyn Foundation, Gifford Foundation, CNY Community Foundation, Reisman Foundation, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Onondaga County, and New York State.

About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is a regional business leadership organization, chamber of commerce, and economic development strategist, based in Syracuse, New York. We represent 2,000 members of all sizes and serve as the primary business resource and catalyst for development in a twelve-county area. We advocate for smart business, facilitate regional growth and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem solving. www.centerstateceo.com

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