BATAVIA — The BEST Center at Genesee Community College is looking for recent high school graduates who want to enter boot camp.

The BEST Center is offering a six-week training, starting July 12, called the Pre-Apprenticeship Boot-Camp. It will provide students a vocational career pathway into specific job skills areas of CNC machining and electro-mechanical (mechatronics) technician fields. The targeted population is recent high school graduates who must be 18 years old before July 12.

BEST Center Director John McGowan said the boot camp will end Aug. 20. The BEST Center is leading it, in collaboration with Genesee Valley BOCES, Rochester, Technology Manufacturing Association, Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming Workforce Development Board, and American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

“The goal is to provide training and upgrade skills to the next generation of workforce for GLOW regional manufacturing companies,” he said. “The goal is to train a minimum of 10 students.”

Students in the boot camp would take a Batavia CTE class while working at a company. There is no fee to participate and no cost for training.

“It’s a brand-new program for the BEST Center and GCC. There’s a huge push going on for 2021 and beyond to promote career pathways via apprenticeships,” McGowan said Tuesday. “It’s actually SUNY itself and the Department of Labor, a collaborative effort. They recognize there’s a skills gap and this is one way to close that. The focus here is in New York state, to promote it and market it and to recruit both employers and students to go through it.”

McGowan said the pre-apprenticeship program has been started with two grants — a SUNY Pre-apprenticeship Grant and an AAI United Way Grant.

“We were approved pre-COVID. We were planning to launch this in July 2020, but COVID came about and we were delayed. Now we’re going to offer it, the plan is, July 2021,” McGowan said.

Of the CNC machining and mechatronics fields, McGowan said, “There’s a very strong need for jobs that are in high demand. Right there are more jobs than there are applicants. Those two areas are very high in demand right now from an employer perspective.”

McGowan said Friday is a target date for students to register for the boot camp.

“We could extend that. We’re going to revisit that this Friday, the 11th. That was more of a target date, but it’s flexible,” he said. If a student showed interest in registering after Friday, he or she could still do so, but registration should be done as soon as possible.

“It does take time for a student to register and then we have to schedule interviews with the companies,” he said.

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