by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise
Canadian manufacturers that consider expanding their operations into the U.S. often inquire about 1) the availability of skilled trade workers, and 2) the affordability of those workers.
The Buffalo Niagara region maintains a strong infrastructure of workforce development initiatives to fill the needs for not only production line workers but also the skilled trades. Collaboration between the private-sector, educational institutions, non-profit initiatives and manufacturing associations are leading these efforts. Read more here about resources, funding and initiatives accelerating the workforce development delivery system in the region.
Workforce Development Highlight – connecting industry to skilled workers
While experienced workers are important, companies want assurance that local colleges and universities are continuing to educate students in the skilled trades to backfill the current aging workforce with new talent. Buffalo Niagara has several state and community colleges providing high quality and low-cost education, training and certificate programs.
For example, in a recent visit to Alfred State’s SUNY College of Technology I received a tour of the campus and the various degree programs offered. During our tour, Craig Clark, P.E., Dean of the School of Applied Technologies explained that Alfred State provides a project-based learning experience that is the cornerstone of their culture. Students work on real-world problems; thus they learn how to think, not simply what to think. As a result, Alfred State has a 99% employment and transfer rate.
Students can enroll in both Associate degree programs (2 years) and Bachelor degree programs (4 year) at the school. Everything from Business Administration, Architecture to Applied Science and Occupational Studies (degree programs).
- The Applied Sciences programs include: CAD/CAM, Electrical Engineering, Electromechanical Engineering, Mechanical Design Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
- Their Occupational Studies program includes:, Air Conditioning and Heating, Drafting/CAD, Machine Tool, Masonry, Welding
Workforce Affordability – maintaining competitiveness in a global market
It is also important for Canadian companies to understand what they will be expected to pay potential employees in Buffalo Niagara. According to the Economic Research Institute (ERI), employees with the same job titles in Alfred’s Applied Sciences and Occupations Studies program can be expected to be paid the following salaries: