Western New York Workforce Training Center

Rendering of the Western New York Workforce Training Center. Watts Architecture & Engineering, P.C., 2017.

About the Center

On July 15, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled plans for the $44 million Western New York Workforce Training Center, a new hub which will focus primarily on training for careers in the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors. The training center will be funded with $29 million from the Buffalo Billion and $15 million from the New York Power Authority.

The approximately 100,000-square-foot facility will house administrative space, classrooms, and industrial shops/labs designed to train and turn out highly-skilled members of the local workforce to meet the requirements of the 21st century advanced manufacturing and electric utility industries.  With technical support by the University at Buffalo's Regional Institute, ESD developed a business plan for the Center targeted to best provide workforce training opportunities to the traditionally most underrepresented groups in the city's workforce.  The instructional staff/curricula components of the center will be provided by three SUNY institutions (Erie Community College, Buffalo State College and Alfred State College). 

The Center will be created through the adaptive reuse of a portion of a historic industrial structure at 683 Northland Avenue-the former Clearing Niagara Plant-and will serve as the anchor tenant of the Northland Avenue Corridor on Buffalo’s East Side. Click here to learn more about the Northland Corridor Development.

Project Status

ESD and NYPA are partnering with the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), which is servibng as the developer of the project, as well as the larger Northland campus.

In February 2016, the City of Buffalo Planning Board approved the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project’s site plan for Phase I development, specifically including the Workforce Training Center, and made a finding under the State Environmental Quality Review Act that there will be no significant environmental impacts associated with the redevelopment of the entire 35-acre site.  Achieving this milestone allows this initial phase of the project to advance to the process of final architectural and engineering design, construction documents and cost estimates for the proposed remediation and building rehabilitation necessary to accommodate the new Workforce Training Center. 

In July 2016, Watts Architecture amd Engineering was selected as architect and space programming/final design was initiaited for the Workforce Training Center.  In September 2016, Gilbane Construction was selected as the construction manager. 

On April 8, 2016, ESD issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for qualified for-profit companies, not-for-profit organizations, and/or teams to submit their qualifications and proposals to serve as the official Operator of the Western New York Workforce Training Center.  The proposals were due to ESD on June 28, 2016.  

Economic Development Group (EDG), Inc., a nonprofit entity comprised of four lead partners—Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance (BNMA); Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Inc.; Goodwill Industries of Western New York, Inc.; and Buffalo Urban League—will be the operator and administrator of the Western New York Workforce Training Center.   Working with other resource subconsultant partners like Dream IT Do IT WNY, Inc. and the University at Buffalo Center for Industrial Effectiveness, EDG will undertake all administrative, financial control, internship/job placement, and coordination activities necessary for the operation of the WTC.  

The Center has a target soft opening of July 2018. 

Meeting Employment Demands

This new workforce training facility will be focused on the needs of manufacturers to fill employment skills gaps among area residents. Manufacturing is now the third largest industry sector in the region, employing more than 66,000 people and generating $6.3 billion in gross regional product (GRP). Industry estimates indicate over the next 10 years, due to retirements and growth, there will be over 20,000 job vacancies in Buffalo/Niagara’s manufacturing sector. However, the region’s workforce does not currently have the employment skills to meet these demands.