Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins Announce $1.3 Million EDA Grant To Strengthen Workforce Training At Niagara University, Promote Job Creation & Boost Niagara Falls And Broader Western NN Economy

Jul 11, 2023

Representatives Say New Funding Will Supercharge Western NY’s Tech Workforce Training Center At Niagara University And Bring New Job Opportunities To Niagara County And Nearby Erie And Orleans Counties

EDA Grant Builds On $1.4M Schumer, Gillibrand, And Higgins Helped Secure In The FY 2023 End-Of-Year Spending Package To Jumpstart Creation Of New Academic Innovation Hub

Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins: EDA Investment In Niagara University Is A Win-Win-Win, Boosting Workforce Training, Creating Jobs, & Strengthening Local Economy

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Brian Higgins today announced that Niagara University has been awarded a $1.3 million grant through the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to bolster workforce development in Western NY. This investment, which the representatives helped secure for Niagara, will fund the renovation of an outdated university building into a state of the art workforce training center that provides education in the areas of data analytics, cybersecurity, supply chain management, and other high-demand fields.

“Niagara University is leading the way to supercharge Western New York’s tech workforce and I am proud to deliver this substantial $1.3 million federal investment to give our workers the skills and resources to secure good-paying jobs building America’s future here in WNY,” said Senator Schumer. “This new funding builds on the $1.4 million I secured last year to jumpstart this project to help Niagara University transform an outdated university building into a state of the art workforce training center, to meet the needs of rapidly growing industries across Western NY. Investing in tomorrow’s workforce today is critical to a successful future, and with these federal dollars flowing to our state, Western New York’s future has never looked brighter.”

“It is essential that New York’s workers have the skills and resources needed to secure stable, good-paying jobs in high-demand fields. This funding will help ensure that Niagara University can provide workers with the training and educational opportunities to meet the workforce needs of Western New York. I am proud to announce this funding that will serve as a gateway to new business and continue to build a strong, dynamic workforce in New York State,” said Senator Gillibrand.

“Investing in a more promising future for all Western New Yorkers begins with improving access to career and technical training that supports in-demand jobs,” said Congressman Higgins. “Thanks to federal funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Niagara University will provide community education opportunities in high-demand fields like Information Technology, Early Childhood Education, and Supply Chain Management at their new Academic Innovation Hub in the City of Niagara Falls. This investment will benefit local employers and job seekers by expanding our skilled workforce, while creating jobs that support the needs of our economy.”

“Building on the momentum happening in Niagara Falls, our vision is to leverage the university’s resources of faculty, staff and students to engage with residents to create opportunities for growth in their own community,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “Through this funding from the EDA, along with critical federal and state funding, the Academic Innovation Hub takes a major step forward as we align our existing academic programs and initiatives to bring economic, workforce, and social development to the Bridge District of Niagara Falls. I want to thank Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Congressman Brian Higgins, for their continued support of this project, and the mission of Niagara University.”

This investment builds on the $1.4 million that Schumer, Gillibrand, and Higgins helped secure for Niagara University in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 omnibus end-of-year spending package. The funding helped jumpstart this project to complete the Academic Innovation Hub in downtown Niagara Falls, which will function as a community education space and will provide residents with opportunities to attend speaker events, concerts, art shows, and community meetings. In addition, it will also help strengthen local workforce development opportunities, childhood education, and other education programming so underserved residents can gain industry-recognized credentials to secure jobs and advance their careers.

Niagara University requested this funding from the EDA to support the renovation of a two-story facility that will be transformed into an Academic Innovation Hub (AIH). Situated in the city of Niagara Falls, this facility will support the development of the local workforce, enabling Niagara Falls residents to attain workforce training in their own neighborhood. The final facility will consist of two academic classrooms, meeting rooms, and a computer/technology lab. The AIH in the renovated lower level will house workforce development programs for career training certifications in Information Technology, Early Childhood Education, and Supply Chain Management. Students at Niagara University will be able to choose from a selection of micro-courses, as well as other short-term, noncredit-bearing courses in IT and other career upscaling skill areas that will be available to community members. These courses support vertical career mobility and may also lead to an industry credential, preparing students for a wide variety of in-demand career opportunities. Pipeline programs were chosen to align not only with NYSDOL Labor Market Analysis for in-demand occupations, but also the Regional Economic Development Council Priority Occupations. According to a labor market analysis data set compiled by Invest Buffalo Niagara, each of the areas have significant local, well-paying job opportunities in Niagara County, nearby Erie and Orleans Counties, and across Western NY.