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New Grant Funds Certificate Program for Dislocated Workers

New Grant Funds Certificate Program for Dislocated Workers

Posted: April 11, 2016

Buffalo State College has received a $100,000 grant from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) to train unemployed and dislocated workers in the community.

Starting in May, the college’s Continuing Professional Studies Office and Engineering Technology Department will offer a 12-month basic machine II operator certificate for free to qualified participants. Students who enroll in the comprehensive program receive 2,000 hours of transferable manufacturing skills that will prepare them to fill entry- to mid-level positions at a range of businesses.

“As an urban campus with a commitment to community outreach, it makes sense that we offer continuing education opportunities such as this one,” said Buffalo State Provost Melanie Perreault. “This certificate program provides lucrative opportunities for people in our community who have been hurt by the recent economic downturn and other factors.”

The grant covers spots for 24 unemployed women, minorities, and veterans who also meet the “dislocated worker” definition. According to the DOL, a dislocated worker:

  • Has been terminated, laid off, or has received a notice of termination or layoff
  • Is eligible for or has exhausted unemployment insurance
  • Has demonstrated an appropriate attachment to the workforce, but is not eligible for unemployment insurance and unlikely to return to a previous industry or occupation
  • Has been terminated or laid off or received notification of termination or layoff from employment as a result of a permanent closure or substantial layoff
  • Is employed at a facility, where the employer has made the general announcement that the facility will close within a 180 days
  • Was self-employed but is unemployed as a result of general economic conditions in the community or because of a natural disaster
  • Is a displaced homemaker who is no longer supported by another family member.


“This definition covers a group of people in our region who most need the training we can provide with our faculty expertise and state-of-the-art technology equipment,” said Margaret Shaw-Burnett, associate vice president of continuing professional studies. “The program will empower these individuals to find well-paying jobs in a strong manufacturing sector.”

At the end of the year, the students also will receive 12 academic credits they can apply toward a Buffalo State technology degree.

This grant comes on the heels of two grants received in 2015—$230,000 and $92,000 from JPMorgan Chase and the DOL, respectively—which funded the first phase of an advanced manufacturing certificate program geared toward women, veterans, and minorities.

Those students took classes with engineering technology faculty and also have completed job-shadowing with employees of local manufacturing and technology companies, such as Novatech, PCB, Piezotronics Inc., and HDM Hydraulics.

“Students are finishing their coursework now, and overall, have done quite well,” Shaw-Burnett said. “We’ve received good feedback from the companies where students have been placed in the job-shadowing experience. We’re expecting similar success with this new program.”

For more information, contact Ivy Diggs-Washington in the Continuing Professional Studies Office at (716) 878-5907. 

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