WCNY Entertainment Academy

Equip Yourself for Success in CNY’s Booming Film and Video Technical Trades Industry with WCNY’s Entertainment Academy!

The WCNY Entertainment Academy will recruit and train a diverse group of people in one of three annual 14-week training sessions, and create a pathway for job placements through local unions, including I.A.T.S.E. Local 52 and Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, who will provide craft specialists to serve as instructors. The program will provide a real-world baseline of knowledge and specific skills in grip, electric, shopcraft, and set dressing that are necessary for graduates to be job-ready upon completion. They will also be exposed to video and sound engineering skills to provide a pathway to union membership and to prepare them for careers that will provide sustainable value to entertainment industry employers.

WCNY Academy Highlights:

– Free tuition, free training!
– Ages 25-39 are invited to apply
– Training sessions take place on Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. over the course of 14 weeks
– Become trades certified, including OSHA and Aerial Lift certifications
– Pathway to union membership
– Access to excellent benefits
– Convenient Schedule
– Job-ready upon course completion
– Earn up to $45 per hour
– Job placement assistance

The core of the Academy will focus on the needs defined by I.A.T.S.E. Local 52 for the roles in the following departments, where there is a demand for crew jobs in the Central New York region.

The union will provide instructors (to complement the faculty provided by WCNY and the adjunct instructors) to ensure that the trainees are fully ready to fill jobs in the following departments represented by Local 52:

– Grip Department: Set grips, camera dollies, scaffolding, and platforms

– Electric Department: Rigging and set electricians, including lighting gear

– Shopcraft Department: Construction crew members

– Sound Department: Mixer and boom operators

– Property Department: Set dressing, prop masters and special effects coordinators

Fall Semester: 2023

Fall Graduation: 2023

Spectrum News: WCNY Prepares for New Entertainment Training Academy

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Press Releases

The WCNY Entertainment Academy to Host Inaugural Graduation Ceremony

WCNY, Central New York’s public communications organization, is honored to host the inaugural graduation ceremony for the WCNY Entertainment Academy on Thursday, December 21 at 4 p.m. at the WCNY-TV Studios. Please join us to celebrate the accomplishments of the 14 graduates from the first class of the Academy.

The WCNY Entertainment Academy provides training for the next generation of television and film production engineers, electricians, set designers, sound mixers, and camera operators to help support the growing entertainment industry in Central New York. The program also creates a pathway for job placements through local unions, including I.A.T.S.E. Local 52 Motion Picture Studio Mechanics which provides craft specialists to serve as instructors, offering a real-world baseline of knowledge and industry-specific skills.

“We express our sincere gratitude to the NYS Economic Development Corporation for funding to the Academy through the Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant,” said Mitch Gelman, President and CEO of WCNY. “We also extend our appreciation to our colleagues at I.A.T.S.E Local 52, Academy Director Carol Opee-Stelios, the instructors, and the Academy advisory council. We congratulate the trainees and look forward to their valuable contributions to the flourishing television and film industry across our region.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome the inaugural class of graduates to the television and film industry,” said William “Dusty” Klatt, President of I.A.T.S.E. Local 52. “These individuals have gained a practical foundation of knowledge and specialized skills in grip, electric, video, sound, and shopcraft, complemented by OSHA and aerial lift certifications, qualifying them to pursue union membership. After a challenging year of failed negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA (Writers Guild of America), and SAGA-AFTRA unions resulting in a two-hundred-day work stoppage, Local 52 and the entire industry is ready to return to work and resume continued growth. This continued growth will lead to a demand for more workers, and WCNY’s Entertainment Academy and its graduates provide a direct solution to this foreseeable need. I congratulate WCNY Entertainment Academy, Local 52 Region Three Representative John Scardino, the Academy Program Manager, 52 member Mac Cushing, and especially the candidates/trainees of this first class for providing the true grit to be successful, and for providing a bright light in an otherwise dismal year.”

Members of the media interested in covering the graduation at WCNY at 415 W. Fayette St. in Syracuse, please contact Lauren Easton at lauren.easton@wcny.org or 585-797-4314.

About WCNY

WCNY was founded in 1965 as The Educational Television Council of Central New York. Today, it is a public communications organization that produces content across multiple platforms, including television and radio programs, dynamic web and targeted email content, the WCNY CONNECT magazine, and social media. Through its media platforms, in-person and virtual events, WCNY brings local coverage and educational services to Central New Yorkers. WCNY operates four digital, pledge-free broadcast television channels and three radio stations. Classic FM is one of the few radio stations in the world dedicated to locally programmed classical music, and Community FM features local people and local perspectives on immigration, education, veterans, health, arts, science and culture. Learn more at www.wcny.org.

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WCNY’s Entertainment Academy Trainees to Attend Anton/Bauer’s First Salt-E Dog Demo in New York State

WCNY, Central New York’s public communications organization, announces that its Entertainment Academy trainees will attend Anton/Bauer’s first New York State demonstration of its new Sodium-Nickel 9kWh battery pack, the Salt-E Dog. The event will take place on Saturday, October 21, from 12-4 p.m. at Tipp Hill Studios.

Anton/Bauer, a prominent manufacturer of standard batteries for the Television and Film Industry, will introduce its latest innovation, the Salt-E Dog. This cutting-edge Sodium-Nickel battery boasts an impressive 9-Kilowatt hours of charge capacity. Unlike traditional lithium batteries, the Salt-E Dog relies on sodium, offering both environmental safety and ease of resource cultivation. It has only been demonstrated five times thus far.

WCNY’s Entertainment Academy provides training for the next generation of television and film production engineers, electricians, set designers, sound mixers, and camera operators to help support the growing entertainment industry in Central New York. The trainees will participate in Anton/Bauer’s demonstration as part of their Saturday afternoon class to enhance their understanding of this innovative battery system. Representatives from the Visit Syracuse Film Office will also be in attendance to learn more about this new sustainable power supply.

“This presents an incredible opportunity for our trainees to gain an early insight into the upcoming technological advancements in on-set power within the industry. It also underscores the growing significance of Central New York in the realm of Film and Television production,” said Carol Opee-Stelios, Vice President of Human Resources and Workforce Development at WCNY.

Eric Vinal, VP of Film, TV & Entertainment at Visit Syracuse said, “We at the Visit Syracuse Film Office are extremely grateful for Anton/Bauer taking the time to come to Syracuse for the demo of their new, revolutionary Salt-E Dog battery as a sustainable power source on our film, TV, and production sets. As an infrastructure and region that works very hard to be progressive in the entertainment industry, we are excited to have access to this product and hope to see it more on our sets in the very near future. Technology like this only makes our sets cleaner, more efficient, and safer. We’d also like to extend a huge thank you to Mac Cushing at Salt City Grip, Tipp Hill Studios, and the team and trainees at the WCNY Entertainment Academy for supporting this industry in Central New York.”

Members of the media interested in attending the demonstration and/or receiving additional information for a featured article, please contact Lauren Easton at lauren.easton@wcny.org or 585-797-4314.

About WCNY:
WCNY was founded in 1965 as The Educational Television Council of Central New York. Today, it is a public communications organization that produces content across multiple platforms, including television and radio programs, dynamic web and targeted email content, the WCNY CONNECT magazine, and social media. Through its media platforms, in-person and virtual events, WCNY brings local coverage and educational services to Central New Yorkers. WCNY operates four digital, pledge-free broadcast television channels and three radio stations. Classic FM is one of the few radio stations in the world dedicated to locally programmed classical music, and Community FM features local people and local perspectives on immigration, education, veterans, health, arts, science and culture. Learn more at www.wcny.org.

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Empire State Development Awards WCNY with Funding to Support Workforce Development Efforts in the Film Industry

Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program Supports Efforts to Train a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce for the Motion Picture and Television Industry in New York State

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that WCNY, located in Syracuse, Onondaga County, has been awarded $499,766 from the State’s Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program for its new WCNY Entertainment Academy. The Academy will train the next generation of television and film production engineers, electricians, set designers, sound mixers, and camera operators to help support the growing entertainment industry in Central New York.

The award comes from the first-in-the-nation New York Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program, which funds job training and workforce development across New York State’s entertainment industry and is financed by a percentage from New York State’s Film Tax Credit program. The program is designed to further diversify the industry by targeting residents in economically distressed areas of the state and creating a pathway to permanent jobs in film and television production. The grant will complement more than $300,000 that WCNY, the region’s leading public communications organization, will contribute to launching the Entertainment Academy.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “WCNY has been educating Central New York communities for decades and we are pleased to support the new WCNY Entertainment Academy that will create a pipeline for well-trained workers in the entertainment industry. The individuals who graduate from this program will have vital skills and connections needed for new careers and brighter futures.”

WCNY President and CEO Mitch Gelman said, “This initiative fits the goals we have for WCNY to provide education, create economic opportunity, and enhance quality of life. The Academy builds on the education services WCNY offers and will give us the opportunity to expand our commitment to help further workforce development.”

The WCNY Entertainment Academy, which will open this Fall, will train a diverse group of people ages 25- to 39-years-old in one of three annual 14-week training sessions with approximately 16 trainees per session. The curriculum will be taught by local union representatives, experienced staff at WCNY, and adjunct faculty members and guest lectures from across the entertainment industry. I.A.T.S.E. Local 52 will collaborate with WCNY to provide instructors for the program and offer a real-world baseline of knowledge and specific skills in grip, electric, video, sound, and shopcraft, which are necessary for graduates to be job-ready upon completion.

Graduates will earn certifications, including OSHA and Aerial Lift certifications, and will develop relationships that may lead to union membership and job placements. They will also have an opportunity to gain professional and life skills in multiple areas centered around comprehensive television and film production roles, and, in the process, to earn an enduring path to self-sufficiency.

Senator Rachel May said, “Seeing a half-a-million-dollar investment in Central New York’s flourishing film industry is exciting. New York’s Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant Program will help fund the WCNY Entertainment Academy, which will train future filmmakers in the community. Supporting our film industry in this way will attract more productions to the area, create jobs and boost the local economy. I look forward to the continued success of our film industry and watching more movies filmed here in CNY.”

Assemblyman William Magnarelli said, “The new WCNY Entertainment Academy and the State’s Entertainment Workforce Diversity Grant are wonderful opportunities that will allow WCNY to become a leader in recruiting, teaching and employing community members in film and television production. This program will create well-paying opportunities for local residents to gain professional experience and be considered for local job placements.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, “The WCNY Entertainment Academy will prepare local people for careers in expanding entertainment fields. Syracuse is grateful for the support of Empire State Development and Governor Hochul for workforce development initiatives across multiple industries in Syracuse and Central New York.”

As part of the FY 2024 Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul secured a historic expansion of the New York Film Tax Credit — one of the most robust and competitive film production incentive programs in the nation. As part of the budget, New York State raised the film tax credit’s annual cap to $700 million, added a capped credit for “above-the-line” salaries alongside the existing credit for “below-the-line” salaries, restored the credit to 30% for qualified expenses, and increased upstate filming up to 40% and added production costs. These changes will further increase the program’s stability, help attract productions, and provide a boost to New York’s film industry, which is one of the largest union employers in New York State.

About Empire State Development:
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

About WCNY:
WCNY was founded in 1965 as The Educational Television Council of Central New York. Today, it is a public communications organization that produces content across multiple platforms, including television and radio programs, dynamic web and targeted email content, the WCNY CONNECT magazine, and social media. Through its media platforms, in-person and virtual events, WCNY brings local coverage and educational services to Central New Yorkers. WCNY operates four digital, pledge-free broadcast television channels and three radio stations. Classic FM is one of the few radio stations in the world dedicated to locally programmed classical music, and Community FM features local people and local perspectives on immigration, education, veterans, health, arts, science and culture. Learn more at www.wcny.org.

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Advisory Council:
Anirban Acharya
Ruthnie Angrand
Mac Cushing
Lisa Della Santina Wisley
Diane Gayeski
Stefon Green
Heath Hanlin
George Kirpatrick
Alex Korman
Tom Seeley
Francisco Suàrez
Eric Vinal

Partners:
100 Black Men of Syracuse
American High
Anton Bauer Batteries
Center State CEO
CNY Arts Council
Eight PBS Stations Across NYS
Expressway Cinema Rentals
Gearhead Rentals
I.A.T.S.E. Local 52
Interfaith Works
Office of the Syracuse Film Commissioner
On Point for College
Salt City Grip
The Stanley Theatre
Tipp Hill Studios
Visit Syracuse

For general questions, please email academy@wcny.org.