ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new workforce development center has opened its doors on Monroe Community College’s Downtown Campus. 

The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center, also known as the FWD (Forward) Center, is a state-of-the-art facility that offers both short-term and accelerated training for technology-oriented careers, including in advanced manufacturing, information technology, skill trades and professional services. 

DeAnna Burt-Nanna, the President of Monroe Community College, said the center also supports apprenticeship programs. 

“Various program options are accessible to residents across the greater Rochester region and focus on industry 4.0-related skills. I’m talking about automation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and smart technology specific to manufacturing,” Burt-Nanna said.

“For example, the FWD Center houses a smart factory that simulates the shop floor of a real-world manufacturing plant. People with no experience can get started in a short-term training program and learn skills or trade without going into debt and begin a rewarding career.”

The FWD Center also helps participants receive work-based learning opportunities and active job placement. The programs are usually three to 15 weeks long.

“We want to get people into high-demand fields that pay living wages and get them into the workforce quickly,” Burt-Nanna said. “We want to make sure we lift up everybody across all zip codes in the Rochester area and the region and that black and brown communities are also represented by our programs.”

Burt-Nanna said employers across the area can also use the center to help fill their talent pipeline. 

“The FWD Center is operated in partnership, including our workforce organizations, educational institutions, and major employers across the region, to help us fill the growing needs for a skilled workforce,” she said.

“It supports training programs for all learners, that’s ‘credit and noncredit based programs,’ and customized training, to meet needs of an employer. Every partner of the FWD Center is invested in developing the next generation of skilled technicians.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the center, a community open house will be held on Saturday, August 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MCC’s Downtown Campus. You can also learn more by clicking here.

To learn more about Greater Rochester Enterprise, you can visit here.