Regional Coalition offering free tech and digital classes for up to 3,000 Western New Yorkers

Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 29, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — At a time when the pandemic has put so many people out of work, nearly a dozen organizations have joined forces to create the Western New York Tech Skills Initiative, a free online training program for unemployed and part-time workers.

“We recognize that there is a real need, and hardship in the community, and we wanted to offer this virtual skills training experience,” Senior Technology Manager at M&T Bank, one of the organizations involved in this coalition, Sarah Tanbakuchi said.

The program gives participants the opportunity to step into new territory and learn digital marketing, coding, data analysis, and User Experience (UX) Design .

“When you think about skills right now, and the way that the economy is involving, digital and tech skills are a component of almost every career opportunity,” Tanbakuchi said.

The organizations involved in this initiative are hoping that this program can help lead to job opportunities to those currently unemployed due to the pandemic.

“We’re looking, as the program progresses, to partner with some of the community organizations to provide virtual career fairs, virtual interview training, virtual resume workshops. So this really widens the aperture and helps expose community members to some of those in demand skill sets,” Tanbakuchi said.

Tanbakuchi said this program requires no prior experience and no educational minimum. And right now there’s plenty of room — with 3,000 spots open for Western New Yorkers.

“Signing up is really easy. You can text the word ‘SKILLS’ to the phone number 716-710-6901 or visit," Tanbakuchi said.