BUFFALO - A project coordinating regional initiatives to promote advanced manufacturing and job sector careers has received $500,000 from the state to strengthen the program.
On Tuesday at Erie Community College's city campus, regional officials announced that the Dream It. Do It. program has received the money as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's regional council initiative.
The Dream It. Do It. campaign is a national, as well as regional, program to address the growing shortage of talent and skilled workers in U.S. manufacturing. The national program was developed by the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers.
From left, Todd Tranum, Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier executive director; Sam Hoyt, Empire State Development Regional president; Jace Wilkins, Manufacturing Institute communications director; and Jack Quinn, Erie Community College president, announce the expansion of the Dream It. Do It. program in Western New York at Erie Community College’s city campus Tuesday.
''There are numerous manufacturing jobs available in the Western New York,'' said Sam Hoyt, Empire State Development regional president. ''The problem we have is that many people are not aware these jobs exist and don't have the skills necessary to fit into today's advanced manufacturing workforce. We hear it constantly from our manufacturers in the region and it has become a problem that will only get worse as more people retire. Dream It. Do It. is an initiative to promote manufacturing careers and bring key stakeholders from the private, public and education sector together to address this challenge. I am pleased that we have the opportunity to help this initiative expand throughout the Western New York region.''
Chautauqua County was the first county in the state to implement the program and the initiative has since expanded into Cattaraugus, Allegany, Erie and Niagara counties.
David Porter, Cummins Jamestown plant manager, said his company has benefited from the initiative both here in Chautauqua County and at the company's headquarters in Indiana.
''We have invested in it as a company by opening our doors to student tours, hosting interns, delivering high school curriculum at our facility, participating in career events and putting financial resources into the program,'' he said. ''It is my hope that we can get more manufacturers to participate and benefit in the same way we have.''
Chautauqua County started its Dream It. Do It. program in 2009. David Johnson, county Dream It. Do It. coordinator, said the program has reached an estimated 7,000 middle and high school students who have participated in events, which include career fairs, in-school presentations, manufacturing training, robotics competitions and technology tours of local industries and community colleges.
''In addition, we have seen an enrollment increase of 42 percent in the technology programs at the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College and strong participation by our mid-size and large manufacturers with over 90 percent of them participating in the Dream It. Do It. initiative,'' he said. ''We have also launched a teacher work experience program, summer internship program and facilitated the development of a school to work partnership between Cummins and the Dunkirk Public School system. We need to continue to increase the awareness among the students, teachers, counselors and parents about the many strong manufacturers that we have locally and the many different careers available in these organizations.''
Todd Tranum, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer and president and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier executive director, said the Dream It. Do It. program is another example of how a private-public-educational partnership can be successful.
''Working together we are getting positive results. We are excited to be part of a partnership of stakeholders working together to expand this initiative to support manufacturers throughout the Western New York region,'' he said. ''Specifically, I want to thank the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Niagara USA for working with us to expand this initiative into Erie and Niagara counties.''