GLOW counties will promote careers in trades during Sept. 24 event with 1,000 students

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul praised officials for a Sept. 24 event that will give students in the four GLOW counties a look at careers in the trades, advanced manufacturing and agriculture. Hochul is promoting the event during a news conference today at the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 August 2019 at 5:53 pm

BATAVIA – The four rural GLOW counties are promoting a Sept. 24 event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds where about 1,000 students in grades 8 to 12 will do hands-on activities with trades such as welding, bricklaying, electrical wiring, heavy equipment operation, advanced manufacturing and other jobs.

Jay Lazarony, executive director of the GLOW Workforce Development Board, urged businesses and schools in the four rural counties to sign up for the Sept. 24 event in Batavia. He said the Workforce Development Board also wants to help other adults with retraining to fill some of the local employment needs.

Many of the careers are high-paying and in demand for local businesses in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stopped by the Genesee County Fairgrounds today to promote the “GLOW With Your Hands” event, and to encourage businesses and schools to participate. So far 24 businesses have committed and 28 schools in the four counties, including companies and districts in Orleans County.

Hochul said for far too long guidance counselors and parents have emphasized college as the prime path to success for high schoolers. Hochul said that often leads to piles of debt for students and families, while not addressing workforce needs in their hometowns.

“I want to make sure these doors are open to lift young people out of poverty,” Hochul said about the careers in trades. “You don’t need a four-year degree for success.”

The Sept. 24 event is part of an effort to encourage careers in the trades and agriculture, which is increasing high-tech in utilizing software for running equipment, and tracking inputs and yields.

Hochul has visited BOCES sites where students are trained in welding and have jobs lined up after graduation, paying $60,000 to $70,000 to start.

“We also need a mindset change in the adults,” Hochul said. “These are jobs we can be proud of.”

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley greets Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul when she arrived at the fairgrounds today. Hawley said Hochul and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have supported efforts to grow the upstate economy and boost workforce development.

Unemployment rates are currently very low locally and nationally. There is a demand for workers across the country, said Jim Whipple, executive director of the Orleans Economic Development Agency. Many businesses will be reluctant to do an expansion or commit to a community if they don’t think there are enough skilled and dedicated workers.

Gov. Cuomo has pushed state resources into upstate communities, and that rebuilding depends on a strong building trades sector for the construction projects to get done, the lieutenant governor said. Hochul noted $10 million in state funds is coming to Batavia in a downtown revitalization initiative. Medina has applied the $10 million DRI this year.

Mary Ellyn Merle, project manager with Genesee Construction in Dansville, said there are many job opportunities available for people skilled in the trades. Filling that demand is critical for helping companies to grow and for the local communities’ future, she said.

Chris Suozzi, vice president of business development for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is leading the “GLOW With Your Hands” event.

He praised the collaboration among the economic development agencies in the four counties, the business education alliances in three of the counties (Orleans doesn’t have a BEA) and the workforce development teams in the counties.

“We’re preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Suozzi said.

For more information on the Sept. 24 event as a participating business or school, contact Suozzi by email at

Chris Suozzi, vice president of business development for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said many local businesses have openings for skilled workers in the trades.

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