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Goodwill begins job training program to put COVID-displaced workers into new jobs

Goodwill Western New York

Goodwill of Western New York is launching an on-the-job training program looking to get locals into long lasting careers after many lost their employment from the COVID pandemic.

There are 28,000 people unemployed in the city of Buffalo with another 80,000 underemployed according to regional Goodwill President Tom Ulbrich, and the organization’s Manufacture Your Future program is designed to get some of those people into middle-class jobs in as little as four weeks.

“If you're interested in manufacturing, we've been placing people at Tesla, Airsep, all different types of jobs,” said Ulbrich. “We have a four week program, partial little bit of classroom, but a lot of on the job experience”

What could draw many to the program Ulbrich said, is that even while in the classroom, you’re getting paid.

“We have a Workforce Center, right in our building on William Street and the program is only four weeks long. Most people get placed to additional training, if that's what you like or what you need, and we pay you to go through the program,” said Ulbrich. “That's the best part of it all. So you get paid for the time that you're actually at our office and in the program.”

Ulbrich said the program is for all education levels, but stresses that skilled jobs in manufacturing and tech is just as much of an avenue for success as a college degree.

“Goodwill gives you an alternative. College isn't for everybody, and there's lots of great jobs out there,” Ulbrich said. “And we want you to know that what one of the challenges is that there is a gap. There's employers with lots of great jobs, and there's people that need a job, but we need to build a bridge between the two. And that's the work that we're trying to do.

All of Goodwill of Western New York’s job training and placement programs are expected to be launched by September of this year.

More info on its current and future programs can be found at goodwillwny.org.

Ryan Zunner joined WBFO in the summer of 2018 as an intern, before working his way up to reporter the following summer.