5 districts in Orleans will be part of GLOW With Your Hands

Staff Reports Posted 1 September 2021 at 7:31 am

Event highlights job opportunities in building trades, agriculture, advanced manufacturing

Provided photo: Jay Lazarony, executive director, GLOW Workforce Development Board; Angela Grouse, director of Education to Employment programs at the Livingston County Chamber & Livingston County Education Alliance; Alexis Merle, Congressman Chris Jacobs, MaryEllyn Merle, Genesee Construction project manager in Dansville; Chris Suozzi, GLOW With Your Hands co-chair; Assemblyman Steven Hawley; Karyn Winters, director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance; and Molly Huangs, LandPro Equipment marketing manager. The Merles are holding an image of a new handicapped accessible ramp that will be built by Genesee Construction. The ramp leads to the entrance of the Laing Kennedy 4-H building at the fairgrounds in Batavia.

BATAVIA – The local school districts in Orleans County will be among 30 districts and 700 students at the GLOW With Your Hands event that highlights careers in the building trades.

Organizers have reduced attendance per school and are providing masks for all attendees in an effort to ensure the safety of all participants. In fact, BMP America in Medina is donating masks produced by the company.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center and the job development agencies in the GLOW counties have organized the 3rd Annual Glow With Your Hands Expo which will take place at the Genesee County Fairgrounds on Sept. 28. Local business and education leaders also helped plan the upcoming event and were joined by Congressman Chris Jacobs on Monday to unveil details for Sept. 28.

Photos by Tom Rivers: Joe Lang, line supervisor for National Grid, shows Pavilion students how to set a switch with a pole during the first GLOW With Your Hands event on Sept. 24, 2019. National Grid representatives said the company offers many career opportunities as a line man, or jobs in administrative, metering and the service department.

The expo will include over 40 local companies providing hands-on experiences for potential career opportunities in the skilled trades and advanced manufacturing.

“In just a few weeks, over 700 students will here at the Genesee County Fairgrounds where they will experience first-hand activities associated with careers in agriculture, manufacturing, food and beverage production, electro-mechanical technicians, heavy equipment operation, building trades and many others,” said Chris Suozzi, GLOW With Your Hands co-chair. “It’s going to be a great experience for our kids as they will get to see and experience the great careers opportunities with companies that are based right in their own backyard.”

Ashton Sommerton of Pavilion tries operating an excavator under guidance from Jared Swift, an operator with LG Evans Construction in Avon, during GLOW With Your Hands in 2019.

The event is sponsored by organizations across the GLOW Region, including manufacturing, agriculture and construction employers, economic and workforce development organizations.

“In our conversations with some of the leading employers in the GLOW region, they are expressing the same level of excitement we have in bringing so many students,” said Karyn Winters, Director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance. “Not only can they provide live demonstrations of the type of work required for these jobs, but they can start the recruitment process for their next generation of workers.”

The participating businesses are recognizing the future demands of their respective workforces need to be addressed now, especially as the current generation of workers are retiring or planning retirement in the next few years.

“Whether our technicians are working on a residential mower for a homeowner, a skid steer for a builder or a combine or baler for one of our farmers the career path they’ve chosen allows them to feel fulfillment at the end of every day,” said Molly Haungs, LandPro Equipment Marketing Manager. “That is the message that we, as the GLOW With Your Hands Career fair committee we are working to get to our youth and their families.  A career in trades offers opportunity for our youth to work hard, learn, continue education and provide a lasting and lucrative career that can combine passion with success.”

GLOW With Your Hands committee members emphasized how the Expo is aligned with the needs of employers and the GLOW region’s students.

“I know I can speak for my county and I am sure other Chambers in the GLOW regarding that we hear almost everyday from our members about the importance of workforce development,” said Angela Grouse, Director of Education to Employment programs at the Livingston County Chamber & Livingston County Education Alliance. “We know some of them are thinking – where am I going to find my next generation of workers? On September 28th, the answer will be right here in front their own eyes.”

The kick-off event also unveiled that Double Platinum sponsor Genesee Construction will lead 700 participating students in building an accessible ramp at the entrance to the Kennedy Building at the Genesee County Fairgrounds.

“I cannot stress enough how critically important it is for our business to be able to identify the next generation of the workforce who possess these skills.  The future of our company depends on it,” said Mary Ellyn Merle, Genesee Construction Project Manager.

Over 1,000 students, educators, volunteers and vendors participated in the inaugural GLOW With Your Hands event in 2019. The September 28th event will once again highlight the successful and in-demand careers available in the GLOW Region.

“It’s important to note that a significant number of these jobs do not require a four-year college degree. Training provided by these companies and our region’s workforce and education organizations can result in someone starting a great career soon after graduation,” said Jay Lazarony, executive director, GLOW Workforce Development Board. “Employers are concerned about the future of their respective workforces and rightly so. However, through GLOW With Your Hands they are witnessing, and more importantly participating, how as a region we are collaborating to provide a solution about these concerns.”

Jay Helker, vice president of operations for Swan Equipment & Trucking in Avon, discusses some of the tools used to fix big trucks and other equipment during the first GLOW With Your Hands event on Sept. 24, 2019. Helker told students he enjoys his job. “There is a lot of hands-on work,” he said. “The days go by fast.”