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RISE program connecting people with new careers

FeedMore WNY is helping people train for new careers in warehouses and logistics.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — FeedMore Western New York started a new workforce development training program during the pandemic.

It's completely free and offered to people with high barriers to finding employment.

Steven Sullivan is a Warehouse Lead at Goodwill, and he went through the RISE program in eight weeks before quickly finding his new career.

"Studied for my Certified Logistics Associate, and my Certified Logistics Technician, along with Serve Safe, food handler, and my forklift certification, and my OSHA 10, which I got here at Goodwill," Sullivan said.

Those certifications meant his position at Goodwill was the perfect fit.

"Get up at like 4, 4:30, we get ready for the day, get here by 6, start at 6:30, and just get the trucks ready for the sites where all the donations happen, and then cycle them out, and bring them in, send out empty trucks to get more donations," Sullivan said.

RISE stands for Readying Individuals for Success and Employment, and it started in December 2020. The training happens at FeedMore WNY. FeedMore WNY has even hired some of the people who have gone through the program.

"It's really wonderful to be able to see some of our graduates of our RISE program now training the current class of students. To see that come full circle is such a special thing, and we're so grateful to be a part of that," said Catherine Shick, Public Relations Manager at FeedMore WNY.

RISE also teaches students soft skills needed for their job search.

"Such as how to write a resume, how to interview well, financial literacy, nutrition education, so you're coming out of the program with the skills you need to seek a sustainable career," Shick said.

For Sullivan, going through the RISE program was definitely worth it.

"I had a lot of backup with family supporting me, toeing the line until I got things going, and now I can give that back. It was great. The past few months have been a struggle, hard work, but, yeah, it paid off," Sullivan said.

The next group starts in January. You can apply anytime. 

FeedMore WNY would like to expand RISE and add a culinary training program, driver training program, and a growing program for urban farming down the line.

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