Breaking News
More () »

Portion of Build Back America grant awarded to Goodwill of Western New York

$3.6 million will be used to enhance and expand the job development program which began as a pilot program one year ago.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Goodwill of Western New York is getting $3.6 million from a $25 million grant awarded to Western New York from the Biden administration's "Build Back Better" fund.

Goodwill says it will use the money to expand and enhance its Goodskills Career Builder Initiative.

The program provides job seekers aspiring to enter the manufacturing field with so-called workforce readiness skills, which are basic but essential for those seeking careers. 

These include learning how to produce a resume, successfully navigate a job interview, and even the importance of showing up to work on time.

"What a lot of individuals are looking for is workers with good attitudes, aptitude, and commitment to work and that's our job to get them ready," said Goodwill of Western New York President and CEO Thomas Ulbrich. "We're the pipeline to get them started and connect them with potential employers."

During the four-week program, enrollees are also matched with one of 50 manufacturing partners in the region to participate in what amounts to a brief internship which could lead to an entry-level position and then additional training to land a more lucrative position.

"This is to really give them an idea of what it's like to work in this profession in this manufacturing environment to kind of affirm or deny this is the right pathway for them," said Steve Davis, President of Tapecon, one of the local firms partnering with Goodwill.

During a visit to Buffalo in April to tout the American Relief Act, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said Western New York was due consideration for grants because of its relatively high unemployment and poverty rates.

Begun as a pilot program funded by New York State one year ago, Goodwill was able to assist 100 applicants, 85 of whom completed the training in workforce readiness skills.

With the $3.6 million grant, it hopes to be able to increase enrollment to 750 applicants over the next three years in four Western New York counties, 75 percent of whom must be people of color, according to Ulbrich. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out