New Program For At Risk Students And Adults

January 30, 2012 Updated Jan 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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January 30, 2012 Updated Jan 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Buffalo Arts and Technology Center is a program that helps students and adults across the Queen City.

"It's a dual program that will take at-risk students in an after school program to get them into creative thinking and get them to graduate from high school. It will also be a training program for adults to transform them from the welfare roles to employment roles," Robert Gioia with The John R. Oishei Foundation said.

Robert Gioia, head of the John R. Oishei Foundation said, "At first, there will be about 200 student who will come to the after school program to learn about art and technology together. More than 100 adults will attend to gain the skills they need to find a job in the medical field."

"It's a narrow group of folks that most people are not willing to tackle. It takes and interesting talent and vision in order to do that," Gioia said.

The programs will take place in the more than 10,000 square feet of space in the Artspace Building located on Main Street in Buffalo. Gioia said it would cost about three million dollars in public and private funding. Organizers said they have faith in the program because it was done in another state with great success.

"We have a model that we know that works. When Bill Strickland came here and started talking about this program where we engage high-risk youth to come to school so they can be engaged in technology, arts digital music...we thought what a perfect match for the city," Buffalo Public School Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon said.

But Gioia said they are just in the beginning stages. Their next step is to hire executive directors. Then, they will then start looking at school principals to find students and the general public for adults who need guidance to get their lives on track.