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WNY Tech Skills Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions.

The WNY Tech Skills Initiative will offer virtual skills-training experiences that will connect community members with access to in-demand skills. The training will benefit people interested in careers in technology, as well as those who want to gain digital skills to make themselves more marketable when pursuing jobs in other fields.

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What is the Western New York Tech Skills Initiative?

The Western New York Tech Skills Initiative is a coalition of local business, civic, government, and tech leaders that have joined forces to bring FREE tech and digital skills training and promote growth in tech careers for Western New York residents.

Launched in response to persistent unemployment and underemployment exacerbated by the pandemic, the WNY Tech Skills Initiative will offer virtual skills-training experiences that will connect community members with access to in-demand skills. The training will benefit people interested in careers in technology, as well as those who want to gain digital skills to make themselves more marketable when pursuing jobs in other fields.

What organizations are part of the Western New York Tech Skills Initiative?

The WNY Tech Skills Initiative will be guided and informed by a regional coalition that includes M&T, General Assembly, Empire State Development, TechBuffalo, Buffalo Urban League, Goodwill of Western New York, Rich Products, the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Employment and Training Center and the Erie County Department of Social Services. In addition to these coalition members, dozens of community organizations in Western New York are supporting this initiative through communications and student support.

Training will be provided by General Assembly, a leading provider of education services specializing in today’s most in-demand skills for career transformation and growth.

Who is eligible to participate?

This initiative seeks to provide tech reskilling opportunities to all WNY residents that have been impacted by Covid-19. To qualify, individuals must:

  • Be residents of Western New York (Erie, Niagara, Alleghany, Cattaraugus or Chautauqua counties)

Preference will be given to candidates who:

  • Have experienced a current or prospective job and/or financial impact due to Covid-19.

Note: Candidates whose direct household members have also experienced job or financial impact due to Covid-19 are also eligible.

Do I need specific educational or career experience to participate?

Candidates are not required to have prior technology experience in order to participate in most classes offered as part of the WNY Tech Skills Initiative. There are no educational requirements to participate in the programs.

What training options are available for this program?

Training options include online, self-paced learning as well as live instruction online classes and workshops through General Assembly in these four disciplines:

  • Coding
  • Data
  • Digital Marketing
  • User Experience (UX) Design

What is the time commitment for these programs?

Programs range from 2-hour, introductory workshops to one-day classes (short format) to multi-week / multi-month (long format) courses designed to impart deeper skills and allow you to build a portfolio of work to demonstrate your skills to employers.

For how long will this program be available?

Registration in these training programs will be available through 2021, subject to seat capacity.

Enrollment in self-paced online courses and short format classes or workshops will be available as early as December 2021.

Enrollment in multi-week/multi-month courses (long format) is expected to be available in March 2021.

Why is the program free? Will students ever be liable for payment?

WNY Tech Skills Initiative Coalition partners will fully sponsor this program for qualified candidates, subject to seat availability. In no situation will an admitted student be liable for payment.

How long does it take to enroll in a class?

Once you express interest in joining a training program, a GA representative will reach out to you within 2 business days with further instructions.

Enrollment can take between 1 -2 weeks to complete depending on the training program.

Can I enroll in multiple courses and workshops?

Yes. Qualified participants will be awarded a $250 credit to utilize towards any combination of classes and workshops. Many workshops start at $50 – $250. In addition, GA offers many FREE classes and events throughout the year. We encourage you to explore these offerings.

Are there particular course admission requirements I should know?

Self-led, online courses and short-format classes and workshops do not have GA admission requirements. Multi-week/multi-month training courses may have admission requirements consisting of a coding tutorial and challenge, as well as a short interview with a GA admissions team member.

GA will also provide access to an admissions counselor that can guide you through the course selection process should you require more assistance.

What happens if a candidate does not pass the admissions process for the multi-week courses?

WNY Tech Skills coalition members will provide information about other programs that candidates can take advantage of should they not meet the admission requirements for the multi-week training programs. Candidates are also encouraged to look into other free learning opportunities at GA to help gain new skills in a different track or improve existing skills with other shorter format courses.

What happens if an enrolled student does not graduate or complete the class?

We encourage all enrolled students to take advantage of this unique opportunity and complete the program. Should a student fail to complete the class, he/she is also encouraged to improve their skills through another / less advanced course, however, we may not be able to extend a free seat in a different program.

I can’t attend an online workshop at the time it’s held. Can I still access the content?

No. Live online classes and workshops are only accessible at the scheduled day and time. However, most classes and workshops are offered at multiple dates and times (day, evening, weekend) to accommodate all schedules. You can choose a future day and time that works best for you when registering.

What are the technology requirements for students?

Students will need internet connectivity and access to a computer. Some workshops and courses are accessible via tablets or mobile devices.

For multi-week/multi-month courses, students will need access to their own computers. GA will provide additional instructions for these programs.

If a student does not have access to a personal computer, please reach out to or for information about potential computer access assistance programs.

Your local public library may also have computers available for use. Visit for locations & hours.

If you would like to purchase an affordable laptop or computer , please reach out to Mission: Ignite’s sales team

Is there any homework required during class?

Yes, certain programs will have some homework or project that needs to be submitted in order to graduate from the program.

Is there a stipend available for the duration of the training?

There is no stipend provided to students.

Will I receive a certificate for completing these courses?

Yes, certificates of completion will be available for multi-week /multi-month programs for both instructor-led and self-paced courses.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Please reach out to with any questions and your contact information, including the best phone number to reach you. A dedicated GA team member will contact you as soon as possible.

I’ve taken all the classes I want. What now?

GA and WNY Tech Skills Coalition members will provide further information on career coaching, networking, and placement opportunities as you get closer to program completion.

While we cannot guarantee a job as a result of completing this training, upon training completion, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of career coaching and networking resources to maximize the chance of connecting with potential job opportunities as soon as possible.

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