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New program provides basic manufacturing training to boost work force

By Journal Staff


ONEIDA — As many as 50 people have a chance to gain basic job skills to help them obtain jobs in the manufacturing industry. That’s thanks to a new training program from the BOCES Consortium of Continuing Education (BCCE) and Working Solutions of the Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties.

The program will offer two free 15-week training sessions for unemployed residents of Madison County. The New York State Department of Labor is funding the program.

The idea for the program was born out of meetings between Lorraine Schmidtka, director of Madison County Employment and Training and the Oneida One-Stop Career Center, and manufacturing businesses looking for workers. From those meetings, Schmidtka says she got the idea to help create a program to develop a pipeline of talented, employable workers for manufacturing positions.

“To some extent, manufacturing is coming back onshore in one form or another,” she says. That means the area’s manufacturers are in need of workers, but those workers need to have skill sets beyond those required 50 years ago, she adds.

That need led to the collaboration with BCCE to create this training program, which will kick off its first session on April 16.

“What we wanted to do was support Lorraine’s concept of building a pipeline for these employers,” says Kathleen Rinaldo, director of adult and continuing education at BCCE.

The program is a real partnership, not only between Working Solutions and BCCE, but also with the companies in need of that skilled work force, Rinaldo says. Some of the companies participating in the program include Canastota N/C, Hartman Enterprises, Lakeside Innovative Technologies, Manth Brownell, Marquardt Switches, and Oneida Molded Plastics.

James Dowd, vice president and general manager at Tronser, Inc. in Cazenovia, said in a news release the program will help his company develop its future work force. “Tronser hopes to continue its growth, but can only do so with qualified employees,” he said.

The program will give participants training in career research, basic and industrial shop math, mechanical blueprint reading, measurement, geometric dimension and tolerance, basic computer operations, and OSHA training. Along with that, some participating employers will provide an opportunity for students to go on the shop floor and experience first-hand what employment at their company is like.

“They’re going to be better prepared when they do start a job,” Rinaldo says of the program experience.

The program does more than just give participants that experience, she adds. It also helps show that manufacturing is a viable career option in Central New York. “That’s really where we need to start,” Rinaldo says.

Schmidtka agrees. The old image of a manufacturing job is something dirty, dark, and hazy, she says. “It’s not so anymore,” she says. “The face of manufacturing has changed.”

There is room in the program for up to 25 students for each 15-week session, with the second session staring in August. The program is currently open to unemployed residents of Madison County, but organizers are also accepting applications from unemployed residents of Oneida County. Schmidtka says there is a chance, with state approval, that organizers can add Oneida County residents if the program doesn’t fill up with Madison County residents. So far, about a dozen people have expressed interest in attending the training.

For more information about registering for the program, contact the Madison County Career Center in Oneida at (315) 363-2400.

The BOCES Consortium of Continuing Education is a partnership between Madison-Oneida BOCES and Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES that provides education and job-training. BCCE offers more than 200 programs to adults in 21 school districts.

Working Solutions is a collaborative effort to assist job seekers, workers, and businesses in Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida counties by connecting businesses and job seekers.

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