BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo Public Schools in New York State hosted its first "Buffalo Manufacturing Day." The event at Burgard High School brought together middle and high school students and adult learners to raise awareness about training opportunities, workforce development programs, and careers within the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB).
During the October 17 event, hosted in collaboration with BlueForge Alliance (BFA), students participated in informational sessions to learn about a variety of topics, including cutting-edge technologies, emerging trends, and the importance of skilled trades. Representatives from Buffalo-area SIB suppliers, local Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, and apprenticeship programs provided fun, informational simulations and hands-on demonstrations. BFA and SIB representatives were also at Burgard High to let students know about BuildSubmarines.com and show attendees another way to dive into the career and training options available to them.
Through CTE and related educational programs, students learn industry and job-specific skills needed to go directly into the workforce after high school. However, if students opt to not directly enter the workforce, these events still showcase the trades and careers available after college graduation for those still desiring to choose that career path.
Robert Harris, Director of Career and Technical Education for the Buffalo Public Schools District, said these events do more than celebrate the manufacturing industry. He said they educate students about possibilities they may have not known about or been familiar with, affording them a different perspective when it comes to their future.
“The purpose of the event is to celebrate the manufacturing industry while allowing students to explore what the manufacturing industry has to offer,” Harris said. “The goal is to gain and retain the interest of these industries and ensure that we market the industry to the upcoming talent.”
Coupled with the information and resources presented on the manufacturing industry, students also learned about the U.S. Navy’s critical “1+2” mission to revamp its undersea presence. The aim is to add one Columbia-Class and two Virginia-Class submarines to its fleet each year. However, to achieve this cadence there is a growing demand for workforce within the SIB. Erica Logan, Deputy for Workforce in the Program Executive Office for Strategic Submarines (PEO SSBN), said by bringing awareness to this mission, Buffalo students were able to see how they can work within the skilled trades and develop stable, purpose-driven careers.
“We’re trying to get kids excited about going into meaningful jobs such as welding, machining, jobs that involve technology,” Logan said. “We need all these individuals to build the next generation of submarines.”
In collaborating with educational partners, BFA is helping to bring awareness and highlight different career opportunities within the SIB and the partners’ respective communities. For example, within Buffalo and its surrounding region, there are more than 130 suppliers looking to fill the crucial roles needed to meet the mission.
“There are more than 50,000 parts that go onto a submarine and some of those parts are built right here in Buffalo,” said BFA Workforce Systems Managing Director, Katherine Dames. “The companies that build those parts are looking for individuals that want to work with their hands supporting the mission. We want students to be thinking about what they want to be in five, 10, 15, 20 years. And the careers that I mentioned are going to be here for the long term to help support our U.S. defense.”
By connecting students with opportunities like Buffalo Manufacturing Day, it is a continued investment in their future and the future of manufacturing industries.
To learn more about opportunities to work with BlueForge Alliance on efforts like Buffalo Manufacturing Day, please contact Beth Deuermeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kacey Bowen, BlueForge Alliance