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Education

Full house learns about ECC's job training program for Solar City

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Mike Desmond/WBFO News
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With 1,500 jobs slated for the Solar City complex in South Buffalo, there is a great deal of interest in jobs that might pay $18 an hour. Erie Community College held an orientation on training and courses for those jobs on Monday night.

The classroom in the Bretschger Building was packed. Roughly 250 people came to hear about the jobs and skills required to make solar panels and what the college can do to help people get the skills that Solar City wants.

College Executive Vice President Richard Washousky says the solar panel company worked with ECC on the training programs. Washousky says this is real world training.

"This is a five-course, two-lab type of situation, where students can actually get introductory skills in electricity, fabrication, electronics,also some opportunity for nanotechnology," says Washousky. "These are the skill sets that will at least give them a leg up on starting their career path that might relate to Solar City or other jobs in the semi-conductor industry."

Washousky says ECC has been doing a lot of advanced faculty training to get the teachers prepared, including a recent trip of 12 teachers to Penn State to get ready. He says the college has used a recent grant to buy millions of dollars of advanced tech equipment for classroom use. He says he expects those who get those jobs to come back for more training and potentially to get degrees.