Trocaire College Awarded $270,000 Grant from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Press Release

Two-year grant supports IT workforce training in WNY underserved communities

Trocaire College announced today receipt of a two-year $270,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for information technology workforce training in underserved communities in Buffalo and Lackawanna.

“Trocaire College is thrilled that the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has shown its support for our innovative workforce programs like Jump Start Plus that provide students with opportunities aligned with employer needs and demands,” said Dr. Bassam M. Deeb, president, Trocaire College. “This grant allows us to take IT training directly into the neighborhoods where it’s in demand most, by collaborating with trusted community partners for recruitment and program delivery. We help students not only achieve success in the classroom, but also in the workforce through career sustaining opportunities provided by the local IT industry.”

Trocaire can connect the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation grant money with the matching funds received from a larger New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development (OSWD) grant allocated in June 2023 in partnership with the Western New York Manufacturing and Tech Workforce Coalition. NYS OSWD operates under Empire State Development and supports the development and delivery of industry-driven workforce programs and practices to ensure that New Yorkers are prepared to meet the needs and priorities of employers.

As part of the Western New York Advanced Manufacturing and Tech Workforce Coalition, Trocaire’s Jump Start Plus program includes IT training with focused wraparound support strategies to help underserved individuals transition from unemployment or underemployment to a career pathway in the high-demand field of IT. This high-impact training combines IT career exploration and work readiness with technical instruction and IT certifications. By partnering with other community organizations, Jump Start Plus recruitment targets underrepresented and underserved populations in the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna.

“To foster a skilled talent pool empowered to tackle today’s job market, it’s essential that training and guidance is accessible to those seeking new skills and new career paths. By bolstering support alongside the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development, we are ensuring the programs continue to be sustainable and offer employer aligned training,” said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs and learning at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Through our partners at Trocaire College and the Western New York Advanced Manufacturing and Tech Coalition, we are all working together to fill workforce gaps that strengthen every household in WNY through access to good-paying jobs that can sustain families and drive local economies.”

For information on Trocaire’s Jump Start Plus program or to apply for the next cohort starting April 1, visit

About The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect the devotion of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his beloved Buffalo Bills NFL team. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson provided that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. Based in Detroit, the Foundation began with a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable, and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit

About The Western New York Manufacturing and Tech Workforce Coalition
The WNY Manufacturing and Tech Workforce Coalition (The Coalition) is an intermediary managed by the Center for Regional Strategies (CRS) in Buffalo, New York focused on strengthening our region’s manufacturing and technology workforce. The Coalition’s mission is centered on one goal – to solve the talent pain points of regional employers by growing the skills of the region’s workforce to meet employer demand.

The Coalition facilitates a collaborative strategy that supports an ecosystem approach that builds talent pipelines for tech and manufacturing. Membership includes employers, workforce boards, education and training institutions, and pipeline development organizations such as Tech Buffalo, working together to develop sector partnerships in advanced manufacturing and technology.