Governor Hochul Announces Grand Opening of $11.4 Million Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “With its focus on the in-demand skills of today and tomorrow, the FWD Center will increase job opportunities for people living in Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region, make our existing businesses stronger and help spur more investment in our economy and our people. Economic and workforce development is a key pillar supporting Monroe County’s successful future and I thank Governor Kathy Hochul, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and the State University of New York for their commitment to our community.”

Mayor of Rochester Malik D. Evans said, “This is an important effort to connect employers with educators and provide training programs that give people marketable skills. I am excited for the people of Rochester who stand to benefit from these opportunities, and excited to see the city burnish our reputation for an educated workforce and good jobs.”

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chairs Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Denise Battles, President SUNY Geneseo, said, “We are thankful for the investment from New York State in the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center. This public-private partnership will allow individuals to receive training in high-demand careers in our region. Such collaborations between area colleges and employers in the Finger Lakes close skill gaps and create a stronger regional economy by providing students with the expertise they need to get ahead, stay in our community, and support their families with a true living wage.”

Monroe Community College President Dr. DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna said, “As our region looks ahead to rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important no one is left behind. The FWD Center represents a pivotal step forward for anyone – from high school students to working parents, military veterans, and those who are underemployed and unemployed – seeking high-quality, fast-track training without going into debt and a high-demand career that pays family-sustaining wages. MCC’s strong alliances with our peer colleges, employers and industry groups, community leaders, and local and state governments reflect our collective commitment to building stronger, more inclusive communities and providing upward opportunities for residents across all ZIP codes in our region. MCC is grateful for New York State’s investment in our students, community and region.”

Monroe Community College Vice President of Economic Development, Workforce and Career Technical Education Dr. Robin Cole Jr. said, “Monroe Community College is excited to see the vision of the FWD Center come to fruition. The investment in developing the technicians of tomorrow within the Finger Lakes region is displayed by the center and the entities that have collaborated on this initiative. As we enter the Industry 4.0 revolution, companies are focusing on skill sets that may not have specific job descriptions, but do require technicians who are forward-thinking and possess 21st-century skills. This center and the training that will take place here will transform fingers into a hand that will extend out to the community and pull people into the game of economic sustainability and upward mobility.”

About The State University of New York

The State University of New York 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 state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 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 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than 3 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 opportunity, visit

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

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