Empire State Development Announces Burgard High School Advanced Manufacturing Program Is Moving Forward With Construction of New Welding Lab

July 27, 2017

View construction photos here

Empire State Development today announced that a $3.2 million Buffalo Billion initiative lead by Alfred State College is moving forward with the construction of a new state-of-the-art Welding Lab, and renovations of the existing Machine Tool Lab and Auto Lab for the use of the advanced manufacturing students. Burgard High School’s Advanced Manufacturing Program continues to be a pipeline for students interested in welding, automotive and other cutting edge manufacturing careers.

"The Buffalo Billion has been driving Western New York's economic recovery with strategic investments in emerging sectors, especially advanced manufacturing.  It is also building the skilled workforce needed to attract and retain those businesses in this region," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who toured Burgard's summer program today. "By supporting these renovations at Burgard High School, we are preparing our students for the well-paying jobs that are waiting for them in the new Buffalo economy."​

The rehab of the existing building (Electric, HVAC, etc.) has been completed to prepare for the upgrades and new equipment in the Auto, Welding, and Machine Tool labs. The Machine Tool Lab has just been upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment. The Auto Lab is currently being renovated with new drops and lifts for the automobiles. Burgard is also finishing adding equipment in a new second welding lab. The total project cost of the Machine Tool Lab, Welding Lab and Auto Lab equipment addition is $800,000 of the $3.2 million in Buffalo Billion funding. The entire project is expected to be finished by August 18th.

The summer school students are taking an active role in the renovations. The students are currently working alongside the construction workers to create the welding stations.

“With funding from Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, Burgard High School is well underway to becoming an exciting career hub for advanced manufacturing,” said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner. “This initiative trains students to fill in-demand jobs, particularly skilled production occupations, and incentivizes Western New York workers to remain in the region.”

“The Advanced Manufacturing Program where Burgard students take Alfred State College classes in the high school is truly changing lives and responding to industry needs,” said Craig R. Clark, Vice President of Economic Development at Alfred State College.

"The Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP) at Burgard is a prime example of the district's New Education Bargain. Through the Innovative High School redesign we've provided expanded Career & Technical Education opportunities for our students in high demand, high wage careers that align to emerging industries in Western New York. Our students will leave Burgard's AMP program college and career ready."  James G. Weimer, Associate Superintendent of School Leadership.

It is predicted that more than 17,000 advanced manufacturing jobs in welding, auto tech, and advanced machine tool technology will be available in the Buffalo Niagara area by 2020 due to retirement and industry growth. Burgard High School students have the opportunity to prepare for these high-tech jobs by enrolling in the Advanced Manufacturing Program, in partnership with Alfred State College, Say Yes Buffalo and Dream It Do It Western NY.

This includes an opportunity for students to take college-level courses in the high school and obtain an associate degree from Alfred State College after one additional year of college following their High School graduation. In Spring of 2018, the first round of about 15-19 students from this program that began in 2014 will graduate and have the opportunity to move forward with their education at Alfred State. The Advanced Manufacturing Program at Burgard continues to grow with 37 juniors continuing on for their second year in the program and 45 sophomores beginning their first year. It is anticipated that about 60 of the freshmen beginning in the Fall of 2017 will be selected into the Advanced Manufacturing Program their sophomore year in the Fall of 2018.

"In order to ensure our students' long-term success, we need to first build a critical learning foundation supported by educational opportunities and hands-on experiences," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "By making this investment through the Buffalo Billion, New York is paving a pathway for students to not only achieve the skills necessary, but to excel in advanced manufacturing careers. Kudos to Alfred State College for leading this important initiative, and my continued thanks to Governor Cuomo for making Western New York's education and economy a priority." 

“I would like to congratulate and thank Governor Cuomo and ESD’s Howard Zemsky, Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Cash, Burgard Principal Ms. Watson, Alfred State College’s Mr. Clark, and most importantly the students,” stated Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.  “This is a wonderful project for many reasons – it gives students hands-on work experience during the construction phase, provides state-of-the-art equipment for students to learn on, creates the beginning stages for an education to employment pipeline in advanced manufacturing, and creates a growing synergy on the East Side of Buffalo with the up and coming Northland Corridor. Education and workforce development go hand in hand and I can’t wait until both projects begin bearing fruit of young adults in career paths earning living wages.”

"I'm pleased with the addition of the new state-of-the-art Welding Lab and renovations in the Auto and Machine Tool labs, which will benefit Burgard High School students who participate in the Advanced Manufacturing Program," said Mayor Byron W. Brown. "I thank Alfred State College for leading the initiative, and Governor Andrew Cuomo for the $3.2 million Buffalo Billion investment in, and continued commitment to, the students of the City of Buffalo.  I am pleased by the role I played in making this program a reality.  It gives students the opportunity to take college-level courses and obtain an associate degree from Alfred State while they're still in high school."

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I Love NY,” the states iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309
Ashley Cannon (ESD) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239