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News Stories

SUNY Erie, Northland Celebrate First Graduates from NWTC

Article by: Paula Sandy

BUFFALO – SUNY Erie Community College (SUNY Erie) President Dr. Dan Hocoy joined Stephen Tucker, President and CEO of the Northland Workforce Training Center (NWTC), and Howard Zemsky, President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development, on Friday, August 16 to celebrate the first SUNY Erie graduates during a recognition ceremony at the center on Buffalo's East Side.

In his address to the graduates, President Hocoy told the students they “were pioneers and created a beacon of hope for future classes at Northland.” He encouraged them to continue learning and become the “best version of themselves” as they advance in their careers.

The programs at NWTC are focused on closing the skills gap of the local labor market while addressing barriers like academic readiness and affordability that often plague students trying to earn a college degree. 

"Over the past two years, we've been working hard to launch Northland Workforce Training Center, and I am now excited to see our first graduating class,” Northland Workforce Training Center President and CEO Stephen Tucker said. “These graduates are the first of many as we strive to close the talent gap now facing our economy and build a talent pipeline for the future. I would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Byron Brown for their vision and leadership in developing the Center as well as Empire State Development, New York Power Authority, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, The Economic Development Group Inc., our Board of Directors and our funders."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky, who also spoke at the event, said, "Northland's graduates are equipped with the high-demand skills and training that are critical to success in the industries that are a sign of Western New York's continued economic growth. Local employers will now have access to an extraordinary talent pool that will drive regional business development and further our goals of expanding growth and opportunity across New York State."

Twenty-four SUNY Erie students completed Certificate programs in either Mechatronics or CNC Machining. The graduates have been placed in advanced manufacturing positions with Western New York manufacturers including; Moog, NFTA, Harmac, Lornamead, Allied Circuits, Rexel, Lactalis, Viant, Ametek, Whittburn Electric, Niagara Transformer Corp., and Buffalo Games.

The 2019 Northland graduates are: Istiaque Ahmed, Mechatronics, Deans List - Spring 2019; Jasmine Bonner, Mechatronics, Deans List - Spring 2019; Troy C. Bratten, Mechatronics; Graeme M. Brown, CNC Precision Machining, Deans List - Spring 2019; Robert C. Carlock, Mechatronics; David S. Coleman, Mechatronics, Deans List - Spring 2019; Mia L. Gillison, Mechatronics, Deans List - Fall 2018; Vanessa-Marie L. Hall, Mechatronics, Deans List - Spring 2019; Anwer H. Howlader, Mechatronics; Dylan R. McCarthy, Mechatronics; Shawntil M. Neal, CNC Precision Machining; Fredrick Ngandu, Mechatronics; Marcus A. O'Bannion, Mechatronics; Corey D. Perry, Mechatronics; Tabatha L. Porter, Mechatronics; Jhanel N. Quarles, Mechatronics; Gary S. Rawlings, Mechatronics, Deans List - Spring 2019; William R. Rolling, Mechatronics, Deans List - Spring 2019; Christopher J. Ryan, Mechatronics, Deans List - Fall 2018 & Spring 2019; John E. Spradley, Mechatronics, Deans List - Fall 2018 & Spring 2019; Roderick K. Thompson, Mechatronics, Deans List - Fall 2018 & Spring 2019; Karla A. Warren, Mechatronics; Justin A. White, Mechatronics; and Wilfred Wylie, Mechatronics. 

SUNY Erie Northland student Vanessa-Marie Hall addressed her fellow graduates stating that she is proud to be “part of the first Graduating class from SUNY Erie at Northland Workforce Training Center. Northland provided me with a one stop shop to walk into a new career and now, less than a year later, I am a certified Mechatronics Technician.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "Today's first class of Northland Workforce Training Center graduates is yet another milestone in this game-changing effort toward a better, stronger and more vibrant Buffalo. I wish the graduates all the best as they use their new skills to build careers. The Northland Corridor Project, which is still in its infancy, is already having an indelible positive impact, on those who come here to learn advanced manufacturing skills, and for this neighborhood, Buffalo's East Side and the entire City of Buffalo. Thank you again to Governor Cuomo for supporting our vision to make Buffalo a diverse and inclusive place of opportunity for all, where no one is left out and no one is left behind."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Erie County's workforce continues to grow and our economic sector is strengthened with the graduation of this first-ever class at the Northland Workforce Training Center. With an education provided by SUNY Erie, I know these graduates now have the skills and tools to succeed, building good careers to support themselves and their families. Congratulations to the graduates and good luck in the future."

President Hocoy noted that the relationship between SUNY Erie and Northland has been a rewarding one for students, in addition to the community partners. "We are incredibly proud to have partnered with Northland this past year to offer academic programming that will lead to future family-sustaining employment for our graduates. We look forward to continuing to work with Northland to provide quality educational opportunities to the community,” he said.


Watch the video from the Ceremony: https://youtu.be/c973mMDzl0c

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