Change: A Dead End or a New Opportunity?

Career Change







Technology is society’s most influential catalyst for change.

Hundreds of men and women in our community can attest to the truth of this statement as lay-offs have brought them to a fork in the road where they must choose to either embrace new skills or choose a new direction for their manufacturing career.
If you are at such a fork in the road take heart! The road to learning new skills is not a dead end, but an open door.

Manufacturing is not dead. It has only taken a new form. Specialties in advanced manufacturing such as biomedical, optic, and photonic manufacturing are thriving in our region and in our state.

A recent study analyzing our area’s needs and business climate showed an estimated 26,000 positions in the Rochester area that are unfilled due to a skills gap. Of these positions, CNC Machinists and Manufacturing Technicians ranked among the most common.

To help you bridge this gap, funds have been provided to fuel your education and get you started on the path to a successful career in Advanced Manufacturing.

Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Grant
The Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Grant provides tuition and support services for unemployed adults and recent high school graduates through local community colleges. No experience in manufacturing is required, but an interest in becoming a CNC Machinist, Mechanical Drafter, Electrical Engineer, or Technician is recommended.
For many participants this full-time training opportunity has led to employment even prior to graduation!

Keep reading to learn about one man’s experience with this grant and find out why it’s an opportunity you do not want to miss!

Kirk’s Story
After 20 years of employment Kirk found himself at a fork in the road when he was laid off from his position as a CAD Product Designer. Recognizing that he no longer met the qualifications to continue his career, Kirk decided to finish the degree that he had started many years ago at Monroe Community College in the Advanced Manufacturing program.

We spoke to him about his experience with the grant and the programs. Keep reading to hear what he had to say.

Q: How did you learn about the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Grant?
A: RochesterWorks! Staff members, Bradley Stalker and Ed Taggart, informed me of the opportunity. They were a huge help while I was on the program. They were also flexible and worked with me.

Q: What led you to apply for this grant?
A: The knowledge that I needed an Associate’s degree to gain employment in my profession and the opportunity to achieve that while collecting unemployment benefits.

Q: What were you doing prior to this program?
A: I had been employed by Delphi for almost 20 years before being laid off. Although I had attended college in the past I did not have a degree.

Q: How has the program at Monroe Community College prepared you for your career?
A: It has added technical and theoretical knowledge to my professional experience, making me a more versatile and valuable employee. I also now have the Associates degree in Applied Science in Mechanical Technology that most employers require.

Q: Would you recommend this program to a friend? If so, why?
A: Yes. Jobs are not as plentiful as they once were, and most potential employers are seeking candidates that are well rounded and educated, usually with at least an Associate’s degree being a requirement.

Q: What advice do you have for any one that is considering applying for these programs?
A: If you are unemployed and have the good fortune of qualifying for one of these programs, take advantage of the opportunity right away. It will ultimately lead to more and higher quality employment opportunities, and in many cases can be pursued while collecting unemployment benefits.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: To continue working in the profession that I enjoy and provide for my family.

If you are interested in participating in this program please don’t wait. The deadline for participants is rapidly approaching!

Getting Started!
Register today for a Training Grant Information Session at your nearest Career Center and ask about the Advanced Manufacturing training grant. If you have any questions or need assistance registering please contact RochesterWorks! at (585) 258-3500.

For additional information about the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Grant and the programs that are available please contact Eileen Rucinski at or (315) 789-3131.