Northland Workforce Training Center Receives $560,000 in National Grid Grants, Donation

By David Bertola

The most recent example of National Grid’s efforts to develop the workforce of the future is helping Northland Workforce Training Center achieve remediation targets at its 683 Northland Ave. headquarters and training facility.

The training center opened last year to advance the well-being of Western New York by developing and maintaining a skilled and diverse workforce to meet the needs of the advanced manufacturing sectors. Meanwhile, Northland provides opportunities to job seekers, pathways to gainful employment and career advancement.

The center is located in a building located on about 35 acres in an historic manufacturing district. Prior to opening, Northland needed to redevelop the building and nearby streetscape.

To aid these efforts, National Grid approved two grants totaling $550,000. In addition, through a separate community giving initiative, the company provided $10,000 that was used to buy a van to transport students to and from the facility.

Northland workforce Training President and CEO Stephen Tucker said that transportation was a major obstacle for many students and job seekers.

“National Grid stepped up to the plate and provided support for the purchase of a van to mitigate this barrier,” he said. “We are now excited to launch the Northland workforce training Center Shuttle, which allows us to provide transportation assistance for students. Thank you, National Grid for your contributions and continued support.”

“National Grid supports the passion and mission of Northland Workforce Training Center, which is to provide training and a variety of educational opportunities for those exploring careers in advanced manufacturing and energy,” said National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa, who also is a Northland Workforce Training Center board member. “Our partnership with Northland aligns with our long history and commitment to provide support to educational initiatives around STEM, engineering and building tomorrow’s workforce that will ultimately help us, Northland, the students who benefit from the coursework and the communities we serve.”

National Grid’s grants included a $300,000 Brownfield Redevelopment Grant and a $250,000 Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization grant.

National Grid’s Brownfield Redevelopment grant program provides grants to fund utility-related infrastructure improvements and other costs that are necessary to progress the redevelopment of a brownfield or vacant building.

The company’s Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization grant program assists metro centers throughout National Grid’s New York service territory that are seeking to achieve revitalization goals, increase property tax bases and promote a sustainable investment in central business districts and commercial corridors. These grants often are provided to municipalities, development corporations, universities and medical companies undertaking major revitalization projects.

Both grants were made through National Grid’s economic development program, which focuses on site development, urban revitalization, strategic marketing and facilitating customer growth through infrastructure assistance, energy efficiency and productivity improvement.

“National Grid has been a major contributor to our redevelopment efforts at Northland, including both a Brownfield Grant for the Training Center and an Urban Corridors grant for the street improvements,” said Buffalo Urban Development Corp. President Peter Cammarata. “Over the years, National Grid has been a critical corporate partner to us for all of the redevelopment efforts we have been engaged in and we could not accomplish what we have over the years without their continued financial and technical support. We look forward to the next project.”

Added Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, “National Grid’s generous contribution to the Northland Workforce Training Center adds to several recent financial contributions to the City of Buffalo’s East Side. This $560,000 comes on the heels of last week’s announcement of more than $8 million in commitments from a group of banks and philanthropic foundations, and the $50 million announced by Governor Cuomo in March. These contributions are a perfect fit with my Administration’s strategic investment initiatives that are designed to improve all neighborhoods in the City of Buffalo.”