Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the approval by the Buffalo Board of Education to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state and community partners to create an advanced manufacturing early college program at PS 301 Burgard High School. Burgard teachers, together with Alfred State instructors, will train students in skills such as automotive technology, welding, and machine tool technology (CNC machining). This initiative grew out of the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan which, in an effort to bridge the gap in workforce needs, stresses aligning Buffalo’s training system with the career paths, certificates, and degrees required for growth in core industries, such as manufacturing. Being a comprehensive college of technology with four- and two-year programs across the spectrum in advanced manufacturing, Alfred State is a critical academic partner in this initiative and will enhance the curriculum at Burgard while providing associate degrees to students who complete a 13th year.
“Alfred State is pleased to be asked to play a key role in developing the new Advanced Manufacturing Early College. This initiative will prepare Burgard students to be qualified for advanced manufacturing careers, which are in high demand in the region,” said Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan.” It will change lives.”
It is estimated there will be more than 17,000 vacancies in local advanced manufacturing jobs in Western New York between now and 2020. Through this innovative MOU, Burgard High School will serve as a pipeline of well-educated and well-trained workers for advanced manufacturing careers, as well as increase the diversity of workers in the advanced manufacturing industry.
The school will also become a middle/early college school where students attend college courses taught by Burgard teachers in collaboration with Alfred State and obtain an associate’s degree after completion of the 13th year. Say Yes Buffalo, a national non-profit committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for the nation’s inner-city youth are providing scholarships, and Dream It/Do It, a program created to educate the next generation workforce about careers in advanced manufacturing, will provide tours and connections to manufacturers for Burgard students and faculty. The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) and Mayor’s Office of Youth will also provide summer internship and job assistance for some students who choose to work after graduation from high school.
The program will start July 1 with a freshman academy for incoming students that will assist with reading and math remediation. A Success Keys program will emphasize self-empowerment for both students and teachers with the goal of teaching them how to own their futures.
Burgard currently has career and technical education (CTE) programs in welding and fabrication, automotive repair technology and computer aided drafting/computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), but has struggled with graduation rates in general education. The state expects that this program will increase the high school graduation rate, as well as the number of students obtaining associates degrees. The program has no negative impact on Buffalo Public School teacher jobs.
“Not only will this initiative help us expand the reach of our applied technology programs into communities and industries that will truly benefit from these high-paying jobs, but it will also offer our current and future students further opportunities for success through these new connections,” said Alfred State Executive Vice President Valerie Nixon.