Ahead of National Workforce Development Month, Governor Hochul Celebrates New York’s First-Ever Workforce Training Program Creating Direct Pipeline to Apprenticeships in Advanced Manufacturing

August 30, 2023

From the office of Governor Hochul

Announces Graduation of First Two Cohorts from Real Life Rosies – New York’s First Direct Entry Program for Registered Apprenticeships in Advanced Manufacturing 

Program Provides Women in the Workforce With Critical Job Readiness, Workplace Literacy, and Other Skills Necessary to Gain Employment and Help Diversify Fast-Growing Sector  

Part of Governor’s $350 Million Commitment to Helping Match Worker Skills With the Needs of a 21st Century Economy Through Office of Strategic Workforce Development

Governor Kathy Hochul today celebrated the State Department of Labor's first-ever Direct Entry program for registered apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing ahead of National Workforce Development Month in September. An event was held today at Mohawk Valley Community College to celebrate the first two cohorts of "Real Life Rosies," a 12-week pre-apprenticeship program to help women gain the skills needed to fill apprenticeship positions in the advanced manufacturing sector and better diversify the workforce. The program was funded through Governor Hochul’s $350 million historic investment in workforce development, which included $150 million for the Office of Strategic Workforce Development. This program will help employers who are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers and want to quickly fill apprenticeship positions.

"As home to Wolfspeed and GlobalFoundries, and with businesses like Micron, AMD, and Edwards Vacuum coming to New York, our state is paving the way for the resurgence of advanced manufacturing in the U.S.," Governor Hochul said. "Through workforce development programs like the ‘Real Life Rosies,’ we will make sure all New Yorkers are ready to fill the good jobs that these companies are bringing to our state. Congratulations to the ‘Real Life Rosies’ for this outstanding accomplishment to set themselves up for success and for showing how programs like this can work in New York State."

Randy Wolken, President and CEO of MACNY - The Manufacturers Association, said, "Thanks to Governor Hochul and Empire State Development, MACNY is thrilled to facilitate ground-breaking programs like ‘Real Life Rosies,’ which works to address underrepresentation of women in advanced manufacturing. Now more than ever, New York needs skilled workers to fill high-paying jobs created by the resurgence of domestic production -- with new companies in our region and our legacy manufacturers. Working with outstanding partners like Mohawk Valley Community College, Working Solutions, the State University of New York and New York State Department of Labor, we are creating a win-win for everyone -- more women pursuing careers in high-demand occupations and employers strengthening the talent necessary to thrive."

Real Life Rosies focuses on training women of all ages and equipping them with job readiness, workplace literacy and other critical skills necessary to become employed in manufacturing. The inaugural two cohorts include 23 participants, many of them newly arrived Ukrainians.

Real Life Rosies is housed at Mohawk Valley Community College, one of the campus participants in the SUNY Apprenticeship Program designed to provide individuals with foundational skills and knowledge needed for success in apprenticeship programs and the workforce. The Manufacturers Association of Central New York in partnership with Mohawk Valley Community College, utilized a Pay for Performance Operating Grant of $996,377 from Empire State Development’s Office of Strategic Workforce Development to launch the program. SUNY also provides $1,000 toward the campus program for every student participant.

The program is also the New York State Department of Labor’s first Direct Entry program for registered apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing, creating a direct pipeline to apprenticeship positions in one of New York’s fastest growing sectors. To be approved as a Direct Entry provider, programs must submit an application to the Department of Labor, are required to have agreements with New York State Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors to ensure the availability of jobs, and must prioritize the recruitment of women, minorities and/or veterans. 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "I am thrilled to see the remarkable success of our advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program, a testament to New York's commitment to workforce development. Governor Kathy Hochul's unwavering support has been instrumental in making this program a reality, and I extend my deepest gratitude to her. The 'Real Life Rosies' who have completed this pre-apprenticeship program, many from our local refugee community, embody the spirit of resilience and opportunity. I'd also like to commend the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) for their invaluable partnership in this endeavor. Together, we are addressing the skilled worker shortage while empowering women to seize family-sustaining job opportunities with a clear path for advancement. This is just the beginning of our efforts to build a stronger, more inclusive workforce for New York State."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Our Office of Strategic Workforce Development is allowing our partners to create opportunities by providing the training and skills that are in demand now, and in the future. As we build the economy of the future, we are focused on bringing New Yorkers, especially women and those on the sidelines back into the workforce by removing barriers and giving them the skills they need to thrive."

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, "Ensuring our students have successful and meaningful careers through workforce development and upward mobility lies at the core of SUNY's mission. This is made possible thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul's unwavering commitment to re-establish New York as an advanced manufacturing hub, and SUNY campuses like Mohawk Valley Community College are consistently developing programs to address employer needs and ensure student success. The 'Real Life Rosies Program' will be a source of skilled workers for the industry, which faces a labor shortage, and it will also bring much-needed diversity to this field with a pipeline of talented women who can bring new perspectives, creativity, and innovation to the field. As we celebrate National Workforce Development Month, it is a privilege to honor the first graduates of this program."

Mohawk Valley Community College President Randall J. VanWagoner said, "This program embodies our dedication to providing comprehensive opportunities for women to transcend in fields traditionally underrepresented by breaking down barriers and stereotypes. As 'Real Life Rosies' complete their pre-apprenticeship journey and embark on the path to registered apprenticeships, they are not only shaping their own futures but contributing to the revitalization of advanced manufacturing in the Mohawk Valley. We believe that empowering women in the workforce strengthens our industries, enriches our communities, and propels our economy forward."

State Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, "I congratulate all those who participated in pre-apprenticeship training offered through the SUNY Apprenticeship Program. It is important that we continue to provide opportunities for New Yorkers to develop valuable skills and gain important experience that will help them to grow personally and professionally and better meet the needs of employers in the state." 

Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon said, "This program not only addresses the shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing industry but also provides a pathway for women to enter these high-paying jobs with room for advancement. The partnership between the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, Mohawk Valley Community College, and Empire State Development's Office of Strategic Workforce Development has been instrumental in creating opportunities for individuals, to gain the necessary skills and access apprenticeship positions." 

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said, "Oneida County is proud to have hosted this important apprenticeship program at Mohawk Valley Community College that has provided women with a prime opportunity to advance in the manufacturing industry. These ‘Real Life Rosies’ will provide a direct pipeline to this important economic sector and better diversify the workforce. I congratulate this first graduating class and I thank New York State for the funding that helped them gain the skills they need to succeed." 

Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri said, "Utica was built on the backs of an unparalleled workforce that built the Erie Canal and led the industrial revolution. It stand to reason that the future will also be shaped by the hardworking men and women of the city. We need to make sure we cultivate that workforce and invest in giving them the skills and opportunities to thrive. I commend Governor Hochul for making the necessary investments. I trust Mohawk Valley Community College to usher in the next generation of workers in the City of Utica." 

Office of Strategic Workforce Development 

ESD’s Office of Strategic Workforce Development was created by Governor Hochul to improve the State's workforce development programs and practices to better align with the needs and priorities of today's employers. The Governor first proposed the new office in her State of the State address in 2022 this and committed funding that was approved in the FY2023 budget. Governor Hochul is delivering on her commitment to strengthen the skills and talents of New York's workforce and help grow the economy. The $350 million investment in state funding will support wide-reaching, historic and coordinated investment in workforce development across state agencies and authorities and includes $150 million in multi-year funding for grant programs that will primarily support employer-driven, high skilled workforce training programs through ESD. Since opening the grant application process less than a year ago, the Office of Strategic Workforce Development has awarded more than $24 million that will leverage more than $17 million in public and private funding and support over 9,000 trainees for more than 300 business partners. 

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2022, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit suny.edu.

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