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Coach's Corner: Starting the FAST Careers Conversation over Food

Tue, Dec 22nd 2020 08:00 am

This really is the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are different this time, but I’m enjoying the gifts delivered by Josh Allen, warm news from our economic development team, and the great food we have each December surrounded by family and friends; well at least virtually in 2020.

Now that all the presents have been opened, I’m encouraging you to set the kitchen table for more than a holiday meal.

Use it to bring another gift to your children, because this is the perfect time to expand their view and motivate their actions, and to talk with them about how they can succeed right here in Genesee County.

Don’t worry if this is the first time you’re having this conversation. I’m sharing the Coach Swazz playbook as my gift to you.

  • Bring out the cookies and milk. Draw the path that brought it to your home.
  • Our strength in food and beverage manufacturing is a ready connection. Watch a few videos on the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website – see this month’s recommendation below.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the conversation and the cookies.

We all can be the coach when we put success and the path to reach it in the hands of our kids. And food is the perfect place to start.

As Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein recently noted, we live in the “breadbasket” of New York state.

Genesee County has the land, the climate, and the talent to produce and harvest incredible amounts of milk, vegetables and fruit. That is why food processing companies have such a strategic advantage by having operations here – they have a plethora of raw products and over 125 million mouths in a day’s drive.

It’s no wonder that Genesee County produces high-quality food and our food processing companies provide so many high-quality jobs.

Milk from our farms goes into award-winning cheese at Yancey’s Fancy in Pembroke, and vegetables head straight to the consumer from Bonduelle’s facilities in Bergen and Oakfield.

Every time I visit our schools I notice students enjoying the beverages that are made in Batavia from O-AT-KA Milk Products and HP Hood. Soon we’ll be adding products from Upstate Niagara Cooperative at their newly renovated facility in the Genesee Agri-Business Park.

There are over 2,000 food and beverage manufacturing jobs in the GLOW Region, and the next generation of our youth have so many opportunities for professional and financial success through careers in this growing sector. That is why first letter in Genesee FAST is F for food processing.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center has been working with the food and beverage industry as they make significant capital investments in their respective infrastructure and state of the art facilities.  The tremendous growth of this industry is also creating career opportunities in other FAST sectors including careers in Advanced manufacturing, the Skilled trades, and Technical fields because these companies are using the most advanced technologies to keep their operations moving.

Finally, an important part of any conversation with your children is whether or not to pursue a college degree.  There are tremendous career opportunities in many industries across Genesee County that do not require a college diploma.  The companies that provide these opportunities provide the necessary training and in fact ongoing training to enhance worker skills in order for continued advancement. 

So have your conversation sooner rather than later because time flies!  My children are all on their own and the house is eerily empty.  It seems like only yesterday!

Coach’s GLOWWithYourHandsVirtual.com Career of the Month: Maintenance Repair Technician

There are dozens of careers that we are encouraging parents to share with kids in middle school and high school using the free, guided platform at GLOWWithYourHandsVirtual.com.

This month, I recommend warming up with the Maintenance Repair Technician profile. Don Cloy, the maintenance manger at O-AT-KA Milk Products, shares his promotion path, the skills that are shared across industries, and a big project he tackled right here in Batavia. It’s a great example of the growth your kids can have!