After just one year, Alfred State College’s programs at the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo are rapidly gaining momentum and even attention from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul as word continues to spread about the excellent hands-on education students are receiving there.
Specifically, the three technical skills programs taught at Northland by Alfred State College faculty – welding technology, electrical construction and maintenance electrician, and machine tool technology – continue to grow as more students enroll and more faculty are hired. A fourth program, mechatronics, is taught by SUNY Erie Community College faculty.
One shining example of Alfred State programs’ surging popularity is the electrical construction and maintenance electrician program. Hochul recently visited the electrical construction lab at Northland to congratulate instructors on their tremendous success and encourage students who are now on a clear path to well-paid careers.
"I have visited with students at Northland who are seeing their lives transformed thanks to state investment in job training programs,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who met with students today at Northland. “For too long, neighborhoods on Buffalo’s East Side were neglected and suffered from disinvestment. We have been committed to making sure that every neighborhood is lifted up, and the Northland Workforce Training Center has been an essential part of Buffalo’s comeback story. Growing numbers of Alfred State students are learning essential skills and experiencing good-paying internships as part of the program. Across New York, we are re-imagining workforce development in an innovative way to meet the needs of employers who have jobs available now, and prepare for jobs of the future. The $175 million Workforce Development Initiative will help to ensure we close the skills gap and provide New Yorkers with job training and education they need to thrive in the 21st century.”
Last fall, a cohort of 20 students were the first in Alfred State’s new electrical construction lab. Since then, the program has grown to where it now contains three freshman cohorts in addition to the senior class, resulting in 80 electrical students in the 10,000-square-foot dedicated electrical training building at Northland. The program also began with three freshman instructors, and now has six freshman instructors, three senior instructors, and one instructional support assistant.
Dr. Skip Sullivan, president of Alfred State, said, “We are extremely pleased with the ongoing and increased interest in our programs at the Northland Workforce Training Center. We thank Stephen Tucker, his staff and all of the Alfred State instructors for this success. Our college takes pride in knowing that our partnership with Northland is providing access to a post-secondary education and to hands-on training that will ultimately help bolster the workforce here in western New York.”
The electrical construction and maintenance electrician program provides in-depth instruction in the theories and principles of electricity. As with the welding and machine tool offerings, hands-on application of the classroom theory is a major component of the electrical program, as approximately one-third of lab time is spent on actual work sites, gaining real-world work experience.