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 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


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