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BCAT Launches Year Two of Program with BOPC and The Riverline to Strengthen Local Workforce

By October 7, 2021No Comments
BCAT Class of 2021

 Landscape Maintenance Technician training program is now open for 2022

The Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT) will begin the second year of its Landscape Maintenance Technician training program in collaboration with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC) and The Riverline.

Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology | 716.673.5082

Sarah Larkin, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy | 716.861.0716

This program, funded through KeyBank, the First Niagara Foundation, and a national foundation will increase access and opportunity to tuition-free training in middle skills careers, providing a work-ready pipeline of candidates for the burgeoning landscape field.

“BCAT’s partnership with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and The Riverline demonstrates a successful collaboration between three Buffalo-based nonprofits committed to our community’s economic and social growth,” said Gina Burkhardt, CEO, BCAT. “This unique program creates job opportunities that strengthen the local workforce and provide essential work-readiness skills to City of Buffalo residents.  We appreciate KeyBank’s continued investment in our community.” 

“KeyBank and the First Niagara Foundation are proud to support this program and this unique collaboration between two dynamic, important organizations in our community,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Director of KeyBank Foundation and the First Niagara Foundation. “This program directly aligns with KeyBank’s commitment to education and workforce development that improves the lives of program participants. We applaud the efforts of Gina Burkhardt and Stephanie Crockatt who designed this creative collaboration.  It is a great example of how we can build on the strengths of existing programs and work together to create opportunities for our community to gain productive and meaningful employment.”

The program includes 60 hours of educational instruction offered in the classrooms at BCAT, followed by in-field training and a 4-week paid internship within the City of Buffalo’s historic Olmsted park system, with support from Conservancy staff. The in-house curriculum includes technical coursework on the park system history, horticulture, landscaping techniques, safety precautions, plus equipment and material uses. Additionally, BCAT provides a minimum of 20 hours of instruction on work-readiness skills to ensure students are equipped to enter the workforce and be better prepared for promotions and/or upskilling opportunities.  

“We were given hands-on education with a lot of equipment that I probably never would have seen in my lifetime had it not been for this program,” said Darren Cotton, Class of 2021. “I’m thankful for those skill-building activities as well as meeting people who are involved in the stewardship and care of the Olmsted Park System and seeing how much people are passionate about these spaces and the importance of them to the city.”

“The Conservancy hires over 55 supporting field staff each year to help care for and maintain Buffalo’s historic Olmsted-designed green spaces,” said Stephanie Crockatt, BOPC Executive Director. “With park usage escalating, the need for skilled labor is high. Together with BCAT, we are strengthening the local labor force, promoting diversity and inclusion, and fulfilling the Conservancy’s mission of preserving and maintaining our historic park system for current and future generations. We thank all partners and funders for this proactive opportunity.” 

 “The Riverline is thrilled to be part of this exciting project this year,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director of the Western New York Land Conservancy, which administers The Riverline. “Thanks to support from a national funder, The Riverline is part of a five-city pilot project that includes similar infrastructure reuse projects across the country. Since the early days of planning for The Riverline, one of our stated goals was the equitable development of the surrounding communities. This workforce development program, in partnership with BCAT and the Olmsted Conservancy, will go a long way toward reaching this goal.” 

More information and applications for the Landscape Management Technician training program are available and can be found here. BCAT will be accepting 15-20 applicants in classes running from January to April in 2022. This training timeline will ensure that program graduates are work-ready and able to support the park and general landscaping season from April through October each year. 

For more information about the Landscape Maintenance Technician program, please visit