BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new path to college and a career awaits new students entering Burgard High School in the fall. A $3.2 million investment from Governor Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” will allow students to earn associate degrees from Alfred State College in advanced manufacturing. Say Yes to Education will fund a large portion of the college tuition for the Burgard students.
The GM Powertrain Plant in the Town of Tonawanda will be one industry open to the program. Future production lines at the plant will operated by young workers who have the skills to operate more than 400 robots.
Plant Manager Steve Finch said industry-wide, highly skilled workers will be needed to “design programs that will help us make cars safer, stronger, faster, and all of those things that people like to see.”
Burgard High School already has vocational training programs, including automotive technology. Millions of dollars were also spent years ago in upgrading welding and machine shop equipment. Eighty percent of Burgard’s students are below the poverty line. The school’s graduation rate has been about 30 percent.
At a news conference conducted at Burgard, New York State Lt. Governor Robert Duffy said “These young men and women who graduate and go out and fill these jobs, these openings, are going to be able to support their families, put bread on the table, and really it’s all part of this economic transformation.”
Interim School Superintendent Dr. Will Keresztes said “We want our kids to have access to $40,000 a year jobs or even higher.”
Buffalo School Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold spoke at the news conference and said, “I look forward to hearing more and more Burgard students say ‘I’m going to college because that’s how I will manufacture a better future for myself.’ “