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Another Voice: Trocaire institute will enhance Buffalo Niagara's workforce

By Bassam Deeb

Trocaire College is investing $1.68 million to help meet workforce needs in emerging business sectors through the construction of the Technology Institute at our Lancaster campus.

The new Trocaire College Technology Institute will enhance the programmatic offerings at the college that we ultimately believe will translate into career pathways for our diverse student demographic, and economic benefits for the entire Buffalo Niagara region.

Institutions of higher education are continuing to strategically align academic and workforce development programs to meet the needs of the marketplace. In doing so, we need new and innovative ways to better utilize existing space in order to enhance the delivery of these cutting-edge technology programs in growing fields such as data analytics and cybersecurity.

Trocaire is well-positioned to deliver opportunities to high-need students to prepare them for careers in these emerging fields. Trocaire serves students who are from some of the most economically stressed neighborhoods in Buffalo and the surrounding area. Approximately 40 percent of Trocaire students are single parent head of household; 31 percent are first-generation college students; and 30 percent are African-American, Hispanic or Latino or non-Caucasian.

In addition to serving our existing student demographic, the degrees and certifications earned at the TCTI will likely attract an emerging demographic in our region: adults with some college who are struggling to find work and who are seeking to obtain credentialing that leads to employment.

Students enrolled in the TCTI will participate in traditional classroom experiences to gain the technical and theoretical know-how they’ll need, while experiential learning and lab work will enhance their education and prepare them for the hands-on requirements of high-technology career.

There is a rising demand for analytics expertise with programs that prepare students and offer current workers opportunities to update skills. This is in direct response to the increasing employer demand for analytics and technology skills. In many instances, these are well-paying positions that are going unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers.

An assessment of the Buffalo Niagara labor market conducted by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute for Invest Buffalo Niagara concluded that the region has more than 132,000 workers with untapped skills seeking higher-skilled, well-paying jobs, available to fill vacancies in the marketplace. This number is sure to increase as these emerging fields continue to grow. There needs to be a robust pipeline to fill them.

Bassam Deeb, Ph.D, is president of Trocaire College, which has locations in Buffalo and Lancaster.

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