Bur­gard ex­pands as train­ing hub

Free high school pro­gram of­fers stu­dents’ par­ents, rel­a­tives, neigh­bors an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore ca­reers in ma­chine tool op­er­a­tions and weld­ing

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION - By Jay Rey NEWS STAFF RE­PORTER

Bur­gard High School is try­ing to make a name for it­self as a train­ing hub that pre­pares stu­dents for ca­reers in ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing. Now, the high school is open­ing its doors to train their par­ents, rel­a­tives and neigh­bors, too.

The adult ed­u­ca­tion divi­sion of the Buf­falo Pub­lic Schools is of­fer­ing an ex­ploratory pro­gram that in­tro­duces adults to ca­reers in ma­chine tool op­er­a­tions and weld­ing. The pro­gram will run for three hours, twice a week for seven weeks. It’s also free. “You’ll travel through that at break-neck speed but you’ll learn a lot about the trade in­dus­try,”

Ex­ploratory Pro­gram

What: In­for­ma­tional ses­sions Who: Par­ents, rel­a­tives and neigh­bors Where: Bur­gard High School, 400 Kens­ing­ton Ave., When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 9 and Jan. 16 said John Suchy, vo­ca­tional pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor for the adult ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram. “And at the out­come, you’ll know if you want to use that as your step­ping stone to go onto fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion or pos­si­bly en­try-level em­ploy­ment in these trade ar­eas.”

In­for­ma­tion ses­sions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 9 and Jan. 16 in the high school at 400 Kens­ing­ton Ave., with the classes to start shortly there­after.

The goal is to con­nect those who go through the in­tro­duc­tory pro­gram at Bur­gard to the nearby North­land Work­force Train­ing Cen­ter on North­land Av­enue for fur­ther train­ing.

The North­land cor­ri­dor is be­ing trans­formed

Pro­gram

into a new ad­vanced-man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness hub as part of the Buf­falo Bil­lion pro­ject to bring more jobs and in­vest­ment to long-im­pov­er­ished neigh­bor­hoods of the city.

“At the end of the pro­gram, you’ll ba­si­cally have a clear path­way to North­land to get you en­rolled in their pro­gram,” Suchy ex­plained. “It’s an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity.”

There are 24 open­ings for the spring se­mes­ter, but Suchy said a com­mit­ment al­ready has been made for ad­di­tional ses­sions to ac­com­mo­date de­mand.

The pro­gram at the high school is in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Al­fred State Col­lege, which has had a part­ner­ship with Bur­gard since 2014 to help bridge the la­bor gaps in the re­gion’s work­force.

In fact, ear­lier this year, Bur­gard un­veiled its new weld­ing lab and up­dates to its ma­chine tool and au­to­mo­tive shops, thanks to a por­tion of the $3.2 mil­lion, mul­ti­year train­ing grant awarded to Al­fred and Bur­gard as part of the Buf­falo Bil­lion ini­tia­tive.

Reach­ing out to par­ents and the wider com­mu­nity adds an­other di­men­sion to the train­ing, with adults get­ting the op­por­tu­nity for some of the same hands-on learn­ing about ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing in the new shops at Bur­gard to see if they want to take the next step by en­rolling at the North­land train­ing cen­ter.

“It’s very im­por­tant that our com­mu­nity gets in­volved and take ad­van­tage of these op­por­tu­ni­ties in or­der to move to the next level,” said School Board Mem­ber Sharon Bel­tonCottman, whose Ferry Dis­trict in­cludes Bur­gard. “It can only lift them up eco­nom­i­cally and it can only im­prove their qual­ity of life by tak­ing ad­van­tage of these pro­grams.”

“We have a lot of par­ents un­der­em­ployed, so if they learn a new skill they have a bet­ter in­come for their house­hold,” said Char­lene Wat­son, prin­ci­pal at Bur­gard.

Pho­tos by Sharon Can­til­lon/Buf­falo News

Kee­jon Moss grinds a piece of steel in the new weld­ing shop at Bur­gard High School on Mon­day. As a re­sult of Bur­gard’s part­ner­ship with Al­fred State Col­lege, the high school boasts newly ren­o­vated auto shops, ma­chine tool shops and a brand new weld­ing shop.

Sharon Can­til­lon/Buf­falo News

Emanuel Feli­ciano changes a tire on a spe­cial­ized ma­chine at Bur­gard High School’s up­dated au­to­mo­tive shop.

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