Art and jobs stampede into Buffalo

October 6, 2012 by  

A new director for a Buffalo education initiative, modeled after Pittsburgh’s successful Manchester Bidwell Corp. – a program that ties together the arts and vocational training, was finally named on Wednesday, October 3.

Amber M. Dixon, a longtime educator in the area and most recently the interim superintendent of Buffalo’s public school system, will be leader of the Buffalo Arts and Technology Center.

The center will be housed at Artspace Buffalo Lofts and is set for a 2014 opening. Buffalo’s center will offer after-school programming for high-school students and training in health sciences careers for area adults who are unemployed or underemployed.

Dixon said:

“What makes this so unique is we’re attacking the problems of struggling cities by both intervening with our youth to encourage them to graduate from high school, and with their families and the community by making sure underemployed and unemployed adults have the skills necessary to find jobs.”

The announcement of Dixon’s appointment was made by New York State’s Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, who said:

“The Buffalo Arts and Technology Center, which received Western New York Regional [Economic Development] Council funding, aligns with the council’s goal of connecting people and jobs.”

In her remarks, Dixon noted she had just returned from a visit to Manchester Bidwell Corp, which has a 90-95% graduation rate among participating students.

In addition to local health care providers, another segment of the business community also welcomes the center’s inception. Local printing companies, advertising agencies, marketing firms, and IT departments can look forward to a larger pool of trained talent in the next decade – a development any employer celebrates.