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Operator sought for Buffalo Billion workforce training center

The state is looking for an operator for the Buffalo Billion project to create a new workforce training center on the East Side.

The Western New York Workforce Training Center at 683 Northland Ave. will be the anchor for the 35-acre parcel of industrial land that the state is aiming to create a hub for workforce development and other activity on the East Side. The state, through Empire State Development, is seeking proposals, due June 14, from businesses and non-profits interested in operating the training center under a two-year contract, with the potential for three additional one-year extensions.

The $20 million training center will occupy about 100,000 square feet in the front of the building at 683 Northland. The training center, aimed at building a cadre of workers with skills that are in demand by local manufacturers and other employers, is part of a larger $50 million light industrial economic development zone that is being created as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.

The goal is to bring new investments and jobs to a struggling East Side neighborhood in an effort to spur development in other parts of the city. The Buffalo Urban Development Corp., the city agency overseeing the creation of the training center, last month hired a local consulting team led by Watts Architecture & Engineering to design the new facility and the planned renovations to other nearby industrial buildings.