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Workforce Education and Development in Chautauqua County

workforce development - education
WNY is growing businesses and a workforce together, and it is making the community stronger. Today’s economy shows that there is room for everyone in manufacturing, from legacy family employees to young faces new to manufacturing. Today’s focus in education includes programs that work with students to help them develop a skill set and also place them into well-paying jobs. 


Chautauqua County is home to roughly 55,100 jobs. According to the 2021 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, manufacturing is the second-largest employment sector at 17.3%, or 9,535 jobs. Education Services/Healthcare/Social Assistance comes in first at 27.2%, or just under 15,000 jobs. 

Chautauqua County’s manufacturing sector is bigger than that sector in six nearby counties. 


Manufacturing % in:


Chautauqua County: 17.3%

Genesee: 15.9%

Niagara County: 14.2%

Cattaraugus: 13.9%

Allegany: 13.8%

Erie County: 10.2 %

NY Workforce Development Programs

The Workforce Development and Community Learning program offers a variety of classes for a broad range of skills levels. From personal growth to professional ability expansion, adults who are interested in pivoting to a new career can find classes that will increase their skill set. 


Jamestown Community College (JCC) offers customized training for businesses, has a Small Business Development Center, and also offers a variety of courses for Workforce Development. JCC is also partnered with programs for high school students, including P-TECH. 


This program provides a hybrid classroom/hands-on education model for adults who are interested in pursuing a manufacturing career after spending time in the workforce and facing barriers to employment or opportunities for advancement. 

The program combines certification attainment with soft skills training with experiential learning, allowing participants to get a feel for different manufacturing environments before committing to employment. It also provides manufacturers with certified applicants who are more likely to take the position and have realistic expectations, thereby increasing the likelihood of retention. 

Want to Learn More? 

Check out our blog on the Goodskills Career Builder Program.


The Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is the driving force behind Chautauqua Works, which is a partner of America’s Job Center. This provides support to both individuals who are looking for a change in career and businesses looking to hire and retain experienced local staff. 

Assistance for Individuals

Job seekers - whether they are unemployed or underemployed individuals, or just someone who wants to explore other career options - are given the resources to succeed. 

Advanced manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and travel & tourism are the industries most in demand in Chautauqua County. The current labor shortage is not unique to rural America; this is a national and international issue. With this in mind, the career specialists at Chautauqua Works help individuals who aren’t currently in the workforce overcome barriers to obtaining and retaining employment. These can be as simple as:

  • Internet and computer access
  • Advice from experienced staff on the degree needed to pursue employment in certain fields
  • Support to make informed decisions regarding local employment
  • Soft skills training
  • On-the-job experience (we’ll get into that more later). 

Assistance for Businesses

Chautauqua Works assists businesses as well, primarily by focusing on the best practices to help alleviate barriers to employment and retaining employment. Job posts are developed with the best verbiage to reach the job seeker, and a data system maintained by Chautauqua Works assists with job referral and matching the best job seekers in the system with the job opening. These job seekers are notified via email that they may fit this job and the best steps to apply for the position. 

In addition, businesses that are new to the area and trying to move forward with hiring can use the CW offices for hiring events, well before their manufacturing space is ready for visitors. 

For younger individuals entering the workforce, paid internship opportunities allow youth to build networks in their intended field while they are still pursuing higher education, allowing them to have experience in the role and have connections in the local community that will be beneficial once they graduate. These opportunities help youth build skills and a local network and also in turn build the available workforce - rather than seeing potential workers relocate to enter the workforce elsewhere. 

There also are paid work programs where Chautauqua Works covers the wages for an individual who works at a business site where the worker gets expert oversight and training for that specific work setting. This provides potential staff for the business as well if the individual and the business are a good fit. Individuals have received job offers and employment from participating in these programs. 

Retention specialists on staff also work with these individuals to improve soft skills and help them retain jobs through proper best practices for communication with supervisors, colleagues, and customers.

Looking for more information? Reach out to Katie Geise, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board, Inc., via email at:


Youth Workforce Development Programs

workforce development - career aspirationPathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, is a program developed by IBM and intended to provide education and workplace experience simultaneously. In Western New York, this program is operated through BOCES. With WNY P-TECH, 19 school districts can send students into a project-based approach to teaching and learning. The program is a six-year commitment, with a student earning a NYS Regents Diploma from their local district and also attaining an associate’s degree through a program at one of the higher education institutions partnered for the program, which could be Jamestown Community College or Alfred State. Students are engaged in learning welding, CNC programming, construction trades, including electrical wiring, and much more.

As part of the program, students have had the opportunity to experience the work environment at several regional manufacturers, including Dunkirk Metals and Flexovit, while graduates have been hired by Bush Industries (eSolutions Furniture) and others. 


Dream It Do It Western New York allows students to experience manufacturing jobs and find career opportunities by partnering with local manufacturers. In turn, manufacturers in Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua Counties are connected to the up-and-coming workforce at an earlier point, allowing them to make sure future employees receive the skills and training required to fill open positions. 

The program encourages local manufacturers who are interested to participate by planning any of the following: 

    • A time you are open for student tours
    • Advocating for careers in advanced manufacturing
    • Accepting interns
    • Speaking to students
    • Creating a virtual tour and posting it to social media
    • Sponsoring a scholarship 


Assistance for Manufacturers | Government Interaction & Automation

  • MAST (Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier)

MAST works to help manufacturers improve operations, retain a reliable workforce, and identify and obtain grants that can assist with operations improvement. MAST can also help navigate dialog with government officials through partnerships and organizations at the local, state and federal levels.


  • Shift 2.0 & Buffalo  Manufacturing Works (BMW)

This program assists manufacturers with limited resources in identifying and carrying out investments in technology that can help them succeed. Both small and medium-sized manufacturers can benefit from the various components of the Shift 2.0 program, including: 

    • Site assessment
    • System design and concept development
    • Applicable training for staff
    • System construction, testing, and installation
    • Post-installation support


What’s Your Place in Workforce Education and Development in WNY?

As we explore the workforce development programs currently implemented in WNY, we are witnessing a diverse range of programs aimed at cultivating talent and empowering individuals in the region. These programs foster skill enhancement, promote employment opportunities, and nurture economic growth. 

By embracing such programs, WNY has fortified its commitment to fostering a thriving and resilient workforce, ready to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving professional landscape. If you are ready to enter the conversation about how this will benefit your business, reach out to Retool WNY. 

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