The inaugural class of students from the Northland Workforce Training Center crossed the graduation stage Friday night.
The 24 students completed SUNY Erie's one-year Mechatronics or CNC Precision Machining programs.
"We are training and preparing local residents for outstanding careers in advanced manufacturing and energy," Northland Workforce Training Center President & CEO Stephen Tucker said.
Since opening in 2018, more than 50 current and graduating students have been placed in employment, earning more than a combined $1 million in wages, according to Tucker.
The Northland Workforce Training Center enrolled 175 students over its first two semesters. Among them is Vanessa-Marie Hall, who graduated from the Mechatronics program.
"The jobs are pouring in," Hall said.
With her newly acquired skills, Hall is now working as a Mechanical Set Up at Harmac Medical Products in Buffalo. She is also interning at the NFTA as a mechanic.
"I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of my classmates. I'm proud of the school," Hall said.
Hall encourages anyone who is considering a career change to explore the Northland Workforce Training Center.
"It's an opportunity that's here waiting for you. There's nothing stopping you but you."
The Northland Workforce Training Center has been a signature workforce development initiative by local and state governments. New York State and Buffalo invested more than $65 million into the center.