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Coach's Corner: Tech Wars Introductions Continue Genesee's Career Momentum

Fri, Mar 25th 2022 08:00 am

This has been a great season for introductions – from Von Miller signing with the Bills to seeing over 650 students from our middle schools and high schools at the Tech Wars competition.

I can’t wait to see #40 on the field in Orchard Park. He’s a once-in-a-generation talent joining at just the right time.

But as I work with the growing companies across Genesee County, acquiring talent with a $120 million contract is not the model we follow. We don’t have to!

That’s because there are hundreds of STEM-focused students at our local schools graduating every year. At Tech Wars, they all showed their technical abilities, problem solving skills, and excitement at taking on new challenges.

These students, and the younger kids that were at STEAM Jam that same day, need to know what opportunities are ahead of them.

In Genesee County, students have the option of great careers that come with a high quality of life and no college debt.

Multiple examples of those opportunities were mixed into the Tech Wars program and all the conversations around the halls.

Genesee Valley BOCES and the electro-mechanical trades program gave live demonstrations of their new mechatronics equipment. This is what that our employers are using for re-training their teams, and that students are using to be ready for job shadows and internships the growing pre-apprenticeship program!

This simple activity created so much excitement. Younger students were amazed as graduating seniors showed off the mechatronics equipment, and the opportunity to take a cool hands-on tech learning opportunity.

These programs need repeated communication and momentum. Every year we’re excited to have a new class graduating, and a new group of students discovering what’s possible in the back half of their school years.

It was great to see Bill Hayes and Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning at Tech Wars. Bill and his team are incredibly active supporting workforce development. When students go through our technical training programs, there's so many skilled trades opportunities that open up. Having people like Bill ready to bring them on-board is incredible.

There’s also great construction and manufacturing career opportunities. La Fermière announced their project the day before Tech Wars, with plans to hire up to 135 workers in their first 5 years of operations. Many more workers will be involved in building their French yogurt manufacturing facility.

That long-term outlook is critical. At the GCEDC, we’re focused on continuing the momentum of aligning career paths from local companies to our students.

The partnership with our local companies’ workforce demands with custom programs has effectively bridged the gap between students’ career paths and developing skills employers need.

Closing out this school year, the custom programs are expanding.

Cornell in High School will start right after graduation. In less than a week, up to 40 students from Genesee County and surrounding communities will be trained by Cornell in the skills that will launch them into careers at companies like O-AT-KA Milk Products, Upstate Niagara, Yancey’s Fancy and HP Hood.

If students take advantage of this program, they’ll be well on their way to having the financial freedom to not only have a new #40 Miller jersey, but the new truck for the season opening tailgate. I’ll see them there!

If that sounds good, I encourage students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to contact me at [email protected] and to get ready for success.

Chris Suozzi is the Vice President of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center