Announcement Made at Apprentice Signing Day as Say Yes Buffalo Apprenticeship Program Welcomes Second Cohort of Apprentices into Roles with Leading WNY Employers

Buffalo, NY, September 8, 2023 – New York State Senator Tim Kennedy and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes today announced a $10 million state investment in the Say Yes Buffalo scholarship endowment fund. The goal of the endowment is to fund tuition costs for postsecondary education and further remove economic barriers from educational and career attainment for Buffalo students. This $10 million grant follows a previous New York State investment of $10 million in the endowment in 2018.

“Thereis no doubt that Say Yes has been a game changer for Buffalo’s academic and overall landscape,” commented Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “This infusion of $10 million will ensure that future generations of students have access to quality support systems and wrap around services, higher education, and in-demand career paths. The foundations created will change trajectories and lives, I applaud the work of the entire Say Yes team.”

“With this $10 million investment for Say Yes Buffalo, we are actively creating opportunity – for our students, for their futures, and ultimately, for a thriving regional workforce and economy long-term,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “David Rust and theSay Yes team are actively impacting education outcomes here in Buffalo, by serving not only as a beacon of possibility for students, but also as a roadmapfor how to achieve their greatest potential. Every state dollar we’re investing through this effort is intentional and will undoubtedly change lives.”

“State Senator TimKennedy and Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes truly understand that investing in the Say Yes Buffalo scholarship and Buffalo Public Schools students pays big dividends not only today but ultimately builds the workforce of tomorrow,” Buffalo Public School Superintendent Dr. Tonja M. Williams said. “Make no mistake, this $10 million investment in Say Yes’endowment will give Buffalo students an easier pathway to pursuing apost-secondary education or employment.”

“This is a generational investment that Senator Kennedy and Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes have secured for our children, providing them a chance to meet their potential, earn a degree, and a well-paying job,” said Say Yes Buffalo CEO David Rust. “They understand there is no greater return on investment than the investment in young people in this city. This consequences of this act of service will reverberate for decades and decades to come.”

This latest investment brings the Say Yes Buffalo endowment fund to $54 million, just short of the $65 million goal needed to fund scholarships for Buffalo students in perpetuity. At any given time, there are approximately 2,500 students who are receiving active scholarship support, in most cases full tuition support. TheSay Yes Buffalo scholarship covers a range of two-year, four-year, and certificate programs which offer credentials needed for skilled jobs.

These scholarship recipients include the 22 apprentices who were officially hired by private-sector partners into three-yearlong, earn-while-you-learn, apprenticeship programs. These 22 apprentices follow the active 18 apprentices who joined the inaugural cohort in September2022. These employers include: M&T Bank, Rich’s, Wegmans, Delaware North, Evans Bank, Metro Storage, AAA, the Buffalo News, Say Yes Buffalo, Moog, Tesla, and Harmac Medical Products.