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Goodskills Career Builder Holds Graduation Ceremony

From left are Randi Murphy, vice president of workforce development at Goodwill of Western New York; Ben Haskin, Goodskills Graduate; Mayor Kimberly Ecklund; William Seignious, Goodskills graduate; Isaih Smith, Goodskills graduate; and Matthew Goon, Goodskills graduate.

Goodwill of Western New York honored members of the most recent graduating class of its Goodskills Career Builder.

The Career Builder program is a workforce development initiative funded by one of only 21 national Build Back Better Regional Challenge awards through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to grow Western New York’s advanced manufacturing sector.

Graduates heard from several speakers celebrating their completion of the rigorous four-week Goodskills training that combines classroom and hands-on experience to fill a growing need for skilled workers in manufacturing at Chautauqua County employers.

Joining those in attendance was Jamestown’s newly elected Mayor Kimberly Ecklund who provided the keynote address.

“To the graduating class, I offer my heartfelt congratulations! Your hard work and dedication have brought you to this important milestone,” Ecklund said. “Manufacturing is the very heart and soul of Jamestown–it is ingrained in our history, our identity, and our future. Jamestown’s manufacturers need skilled workers like you, and I’m confident you’ll make invaluable contributions to our community and the manufacturing industry at large.”

In collaboration with local employers and trainers, Goodskills Career Builder prepares workers for careers in advanced manufacturing provided free of charge to residents of Chautauqua County. Current training partners include Jamestown Community College’s Manufacturing Training Institute, Rand, Arro Manufacturing, Upstate Niagara Cooperative Southern Chautauqua Credit Union, Stuart Tool & Die, and OSHA John.

Designed in partnership with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI) and currently hosting sessions in Erie, Niagara, and Chautauqua Counties, Goodskills graduated 70 participants in Jamestown in 2023, with nearly 70% successfully placed in jobs with career advancement opportunities or enrolled in higher education programs. Current Jamestown Goodskills graduates have been placed at Blackstone Advanced Technologies, Cummins, Ellison Bronze, Fancher Chair, Five & 20 Spirits and Brewery, Jamestown Advanced Products, Matco Tools, Nestle Purina, New Flyer, Refresco Beverages, Southern Tier Brewery, TitanX, Water Street Brass, and Welch’s.

Participants also have access to a Goodskills Career Coach for up to three years after graduation. The Career Coach will help graduates overcome obstacles that may prevent them from maintaining their position and help them advance in their desired career path. These coaches have access to a wide range of resources that can assist with transportation, affordable childcare, and referrals to additional sector specific training.

Goodskills Career Builder is open to any adult over 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent residing in Chautauqua County who is authorized to work in the United States, and is currently looking for a higher-paying job in advanced manufacturing. There is currently no cost associated with participating, and graduates will receive $500 for work completed during the hands-on portion of the training. The sessions are held in the Hultquist Building on the Jamestown Community College Campus at 260 Curtis St., Jamestown.

Potential candidates for Goodskills and potential employer partners can learn more by visiting Goodskillswny.org or by calling an Outreach Liaison at 716-710-7114

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