Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Lt. Governor Bob Duffy visited Buffalo Wednesday to announce a new program at Burgard High School. The program will train students in skills such as auto technology, welding, and machine tool technology.
Duffy said, “This new program will be monumental for Buffalo’s high school students, giving them the skills they need to secure manufacturing jobs that are increasingly in demand. In Buffalo’s new economy, the need for skilled manufacturers has never been greater, and thanks to Governor Cuomo’s vision, the state is giving these inner city students the tools to enter a lucrative professional field and become a vital part of Western New York’s development.”
It is estimated that there will be more than 17,000 vacancies in local advanced manufacturing jobs in Western New York between now and 2020. Currently, more than 80 percent of Burgard High School's students live below the poverty line. With a school graduation rate of only 30%, the overall minority unemployment rate in the City of Buffalo is 19 percent. Through the program, Burgard will use training and education to bridge the gap between those looking for jobs and employers in need of skilled workers.
In partnership with SUNY College of Technology at Alfred, the school will also become a middle/early college school where students attend college courses in CNC Machining, Auto Technology, and Welding. Classes will be taught by Burgard teachers in collaboration with Alfred State and students can obtain an associate’s degree after completion of the 13th year.
Buffalo School Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold said, “This is a real plan to not only give Burgard High School students a college education but also a lucrative career in the area of advanced manufacturing. By bringing the SUNY Alfred classes to the high school, students are encouraged to make that transition to college level work early, which builds self-esteem and confidence as they move forward. I look forward to hearing more and more Burgard students say, ‘I’m going to college because that’s how I will manufacture a better future for myself.’”
The program will start July 1 with a “freshman academy” for incoming freshman to assist with reading and math remediation. A “Success Keys” program will emphasize self-empowerment for both students and teachers, encouraging that they learn the traits of owning their future and changing the culture of the school.