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High-tech job training expands locally

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With the increasingly high-tech economy developing around here, job training is preparing people for those jobs.

Whether it's the burgeoning Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus or the RiverBend solar energy complex which is in the early stages of construction, they all need workers and workers want those jobs. That's where job training comes in.

Heather Okoro is executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board which is central to job training around here. Job training is a wide definition since it can include computer training as well as basic literacy to prepare for training.

"We train customers throughout the region who are unemployed and under-employed seeking to upgrade their skills, learn how to interview for positions, learning about what training is out there for emerging careers in our local region," Okoro said.

"We also work with businesses, directly, to assist with their staffing needs."

Okoro says that's getting ever more complicated with RiverBend and other projects and the board working to understand the jobs the companies will be hiring for, often in pretty high-tech fields. At the same time, she says morale is rising as her employees and potential trainees look at the prospect of more jobs.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.