Paris Thomas goes far.
“I hope when all of COVID-19 is over I can go to Japan and finally visit. It’s always been a dream of mine since I was young,” said Thomas, a Buffalo resident who works as a technician. “Now, with where I am in my life and what I earn working at Tesla, I can do it.”
Not so long ago, a trip abroad and a job in one of the world’s largest companies seemed out of reach for Thomas, who worked in the restaurant industry. But in 2020 he enrolled in the mechatronics program at Buffalo Northland Training Center. The nine-month program changed her life.
“Before, my job was just to clean areas and fix tables,” he said. “And now I am able to repair machinery and electronics. That’s a massive pay raise.
Create a skilled workforce
Northland is home to two co-located training centers – the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and the Utility of the Future & Clean Energy Training Center – to increase the number and quality of local candidates prepared for energy and manufacturing careers. point. Northland offers credit, certificate, and diploma programs through its educational partners, SUNY Alfred State College and SUNY Erie Community College. Whatever the program, the goal of any intern entering Northland is clear: permanent employment in a field with a future.
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With a flexible curriculum, the school aims to serve those in the upstate New York area who have barriers to high school education. “Especially for an urban area, the kids in our area should know it’s as good as any college,” he said.
Northland’s workforce training prepares people to work in growing industries such as advanced manufacturing and energy. Strong mentorship from qualified educators helps students achieve their career goals. The length and scope of each program varies, but there is some flexibility in most streams. Thomas described his program as being 70% hands-on classroom work and 30% theoretical work.
“It gives a glimmer of hope,” Thomas said. “The instructors are as good as each other. But this school is for those who cannot make it financially in other places. For urban kids and career changers, you can change your life. »
A proven investment record
In addition to the technical skills needed to thrive in the job market, Northland provides graduates with communication skills and professional resources to help them thrive in the job market.
The school actively works with upstate corporate recruiters to help graduates find jobs.
“They are actively looking while you’re in school for places you can apply,” Thomas said. “They bring in employers in your last weeks of school, bring in people to interview the students.”
For the folks in Thomas’ program, the results speak for themselves. A few months after graduating, he landed his job at Tesla.
“In my class, there were a lot of people making minimum wage and now they’re making over $20 an hour,” he said. “It was a life-changing experience for many of us.”