Rochester – The Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association (RTMA) today in partnership with the City of Rochester, Monroe County, the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program (FLYAP), Monroe Community College (MCC), RochesterWorks!, UNiCON Rochester and the Builders Exchange of Rochester hosted the first ever ROC With Your Hands Career Exploration event at the Rochester Community Sports Complex. The event was provided at no cost to the schools and students thanks to the generosity of community partners and donors.
ROC With Your Hands featured dozens of employers that showcased various careers, offered hands-on demonstrations and provided information on their respective fields. Hundreds of students in grades seven through 12 across Monroe County and the City of Rochester were exposed to careers in advanced manufacturing, skilled trades, automotive technology and heavy equipment. Students, teachers and chaperones were also provided free merchandise and lunch was also provided at no charge.
The RTMA developed ROC With Your Hands through discussions with area businesses, local educators and community partners alongside FLYAP. The career exploration will be offered every year to schools throughout the City of Rochester and Monroe County. ROC With Your Hands further supports the RTMA’s mission of promoting manufacturing innovation and growth in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes Region by partnering with industry, academia and government.
“ROC With Your Hands is a fun way to introduce our community’s students to careers that involve working with your hands,” said Bob Coyne, RTMA Executive Director. “Careers in advanced manufacturing, skilled trades, automotive technology and heavy equipment mostly require paid on-the-job training and non-traditional educational opportunities while providing a positive pathway to success and economic independence. ROC With Your Hands allows students, teachers and chaperones to learn more about these high-demand fields.”
The City of Rochester is generously hosted ROC With Your Hands through its Department of Recreation and Human Services at the Rochester Community Sports Complex. The city is committed to workforce development training and entrepreneurial services.
“ROC With Your Hands shows kids that there is opportunity no matter what path they take, whether it be college, a trade, entrepreneurship, or any of the endless possibilities,” said Mayor Malik D. Evans. “Thank you to The Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association, and to all of our partners for giving Rochester’s youth the opportunity to reach their full potential. My administration will continue to prioritize Youth Development as we work to make Rochester a hope-filled city with an exciting future.”
The County of Monroe Industrial Development Corporation and Monroe County Planning & Development Department also supported ROC With Your Hands. The county coordinates and provides a broad range of job retention and creation programs and employment and training services. It is committed to making the region economically prosperous by ensuring a high quality of life.
“Skilled trades workers are in short supply, meanwhile our economy needs the and companies are willing to pay good money for them,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “It is essential for us to encourage young people in our community to explore the skilled construction trades, advanced manufacturing and heavy equipment operation – these high-paying jobs are vital to our county’s economic future. ROC With Your Hands is a great way to introduce students to a wide array of career opportunities and help ensure we have the workforce the employers of today and tomorrow require.”
Monroe Community College partners with the Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association annually on the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program and supports ROC With Your Hands. MCC offers innovative workforce solutions through the college’s Economic and Workforce Development Center and is also home to the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center.
“Helping provide the opportunity for young students not only to see, but to have hands-on experience, is invaluable in helping them understand the possibility of careers in advanced manufacturing, skilled trades, automotive technology and heavy equipment,” added Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna, President of Monroe Community College. “MCC is proud of our partnership with the RTMA and others to help young students explore these career paths.”
RochesterWorks! also served on the steering committee for ROC With Your Hands and is the Workforce Development Board for the City of Rochester and Monroe County. RochesterWorks! is also an American Job Center which provides training and employment services to the community.
“There are thousands of jobs, providing a livable wage, awaiting our high schoolers when they elect to enter the workforce – many of which don’t require a college degree. We must, however, be proactive in planting the seeds with our youth to generate interest in these dynamic careers,” added Dave Seeley, Executive Director of RochesterWorks! “ROC With Your Hands is a fun opportunity for our youngsters to get a taste of what a job might entail in fields like manufacturing and construction. I commend the RTMA and other partners for helping make this inaugural event a reality.”
The Builders Exchange of Rochester (ROBEX) and UNiCON Rochester also host similar career exploration events which are supported by the RTMA. ROBEX provides a wide range of services and programs to hundreds of members throughout the region. Its goal is to make a difference by building a better community. UNiCON builds strong relationships with local construction businesses through partnerships with local schools and colleges by working with both public and private leaders. The organization advocates for resources to grow our community’s economy and workforce.
“UNiCON Rochester is proud to sponsor of ROC With Your Hands,” added UNiCON Executive Director Joe Morelle, Jr. “The Finger Lakes Region is filled with job opportunities, especially in the organized building trades. As our community has grown, organized labor has been there to build it and encourage the next generation to become part of the Rochester Building Trades. The inaugural ROC With Your Hands event is critical to the community in giving students and families the awareness they need to begin great careers in Rochester.”
The collaboration between local government, academia and not-for-profit business organizations developed ROC With Your Hands over the past several months. Organizers expect this to be an annual event to be held every fall at the Rochester Community Sports Complex. The Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association and ROC With Your Hands steering committee would like to thank the event’s partners, sponsors and vendors of the event for allowing the program to be provided to local schools free of charge. For more information on ROC With Your Hands, you can visit https://www.rtma.org/rwyh/ or contact the Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 510-6557.