Discuss FAST careers over food

Chris Suozzi

Coach Swaz. That’s how a lot of people know me, even in economic development circles.

A great team, like the Buffalo Bills and all of our partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is built on talented players and motivated coaches. Building on our economic growth in Genesee County is achieved through teamwork.

For our youth, that coaching can build connections to careers that put them in a position where they can succeed quickly by tapping into their talents and passion. Through Genesee FAST (Food processing, Advanced manufacturing, Skilled trades, and Technician) we can mentor, educate and train our youth for career opportunities with companies across the GLOW region. This allows us to move fast in helping companies with the job demands in their respective workplaces.

I want to reference a couple of examples of how this is being demonstrated. Graham Corporation recently purchased and installed a new welding simulator for the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center’s Metal Trades Program at Genesee Valley BOCES. It is a great example of how our growing companies are building connections with students in preparing the next generation of skilled welders. I applaud Graham Corporation’s vision and support of Genesee Valley BOCES.

Andrew Geyer’s welding students at the Batavia CTE are currently training on real world scenarios and are encouraged to get even more involved with youth apprenticeships. By taking the appropriate courses, participating in relevant activities and focusing on developing their skills we are providing students the playbook for success.

In 2019, more than 1,000 students, educators and guests participated in a single-day event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds – GLOW With Your Hands. In my role as co-chair of GLOW With Your Hands along with GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony, we knew our entire volunteer team had to make a dramatic pivot for 2020 because of the pandemic. And we achieved success by going virtual.

Providing students with hands-on opportunities at the GLOW With Your Hands event last year was extremely impactful. Providing that same experience this year seemed like a monumental task, but we are reaching even more kids than last year making deeper connections with the launch of www.GLOWWithYourHandsVirtual.com.

Karyn Winters, the director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance, and Angela Grouse, director of education to employment initiatives for the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, are leading all of our volunteers across the GLOW region in this effort. They once again enlisted companies to turn a hands-on event into an on-demand platform for our students to pursue great career opportunities.

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual demonstrates the career pathways that our students can take in securing family sustaining jobs and, more importantly, remaining part of our community by staying here and raising their own families.

I encourage everyone who wants to see Genesee County continue to grow and prosper by putting our kids in a position to win, to please visit the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website and start discussing these careers with our youth. You can be a great coach.

Coach Swaz’s Career of the Month

There are dozens of careers that we are encouraging parents to share with kids in middle school and high school using the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website. This month, I recommend warming up with the welding profile at glowwithyourhandsvirtual.com/manufacturingcareers and seeing how welder-fabricators succeed.

Chris Suozzi is the vice president of business and workforce development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center. His business column, which debuts today, will appear monthly in The Daily News.

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