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For the jobless, an opportunity in advanced manufacturing

Manufacturers say they need more skilled workers to hire.

If a new SUNY Buffalo State training program succeeds, some long-term unemployed people will become the types of candidates they want.

SUNY Buffalo State has launched a 12-month Advanced Manufacturing Training Program to support growth in that sector. It is free to participants, but they must meet eligibility criteria. One class began in May, with 12 students. The college is recruiting for another class that will start Aug. 3. Plans call for a total of 48 students to complete the program in its first year.

The region’s advanced manufacturing sector has received increased attention with a project such as SolarCity’s solar panel manufacturing complex under construction. Students who complete the Buffalo State program will emerge with a Basic Machine II Operator Certificate. In order to be eligible for the program, students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be unemployed for 20 weeks or more. They must also be able to commit to full-time training eight hours a day from Monday through Friday and be available for full-time work upon completion.

Margaret A. Shaw-Burnett, associate vice president of continuing professional studies at Buffalo State, said the program aims to position the graduates for jobs.

“We do feel very good about it, because we’re going along with what the manufacturing sector is telling us their needs are.” A goal is to increase the number of women, minorities and veterans who get trained and hired for jobs in advanced manufacturing, she said.

The program will consist of classroom lectures, as well as hands-on training at manufacturing plants. “By the time they leave us, they have a very good understanding of what the companies are looking for, and then the employers will have an opportunity to look at our students,” Shaw-Burnett said. Students who complete the program will earn National Institute for Metalworking Skills certification, and 12 academic credits applicable to a Buffalo State bachelor’s degree in technology.

JPMorgan Chase is supporting the program with a two-year, $230,000 grant. Fred Vosburgh, executive director and division manager at JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement that the bank has a “fundamental responsibility to use our resources and expertise to help the communities where we live and work.” Overall, JPMorgan Chase is providing $1 million in advanced manufacturing training grants to four upstate New York regions. The college also received a one-year, $92,000 grant from the state Department of Labor for the program.

For information, call 878-5907 or email