Community News

SUNY JCC’s Laine CEO Program Offers Paid Job Mentorship With Local Businesses

Following a successful pilot last fall, the Erick Laine Career Exploration Opportunity Award program returns this year.

The program, also known as the Laine CEO Award, provides participants a paid, hands-on experience in a career field of interest with local businesses and manufacturers. Open to area residents 18 and older, the experience is coordinated by SUNY Jamestown Community College’s Workforce Development.

As part of 135 hours of experiential learning over 15 weeks, individuals are exposed to in-person and virtual career-readiness seminars that include help with resume and cover letter writing, interviewing for jobs, and building their LinkedIn profiles. In-person training is held at JCC’s Cattaraugus County Campus Manufacturing Technology Institute in Olean, N.Y.

The anchor of the program is a 60-hour mentorship that includes job shadowing and fieldwork with a local business. Participants can choose to work with organizations in manufacturing, healthcare, business, or hospitality and tourism. 

The opportunity is ideal for graduating high school students who are undecided on a career path, college students, underemployed adults, and college graduates seeking a career change.

Gregg Karl, program manager for Workforce Development and coordinator for the Laine CEO Award, said Cutco, InTandem, Seneca Gaming & Entertainment in Salamanca and Niagara Falls, and Holimont have committed to providing mentorships, with others joining soon. Nine participants completed the pilot program last fall.

“Individuals who take advantage of this program are signing up for a potentially life-changing experience,” Karl said, “Having a chance to explore professional interests, build professional networks, and engage in job opportunities while getting paid to do so is pretty unheard of.

“From an employer perspective,” he added, “the mentorship component provides a chance to build awareness about the types of careers available within their organization on a very personal level.”

Upon successful completion of this program, participants will receive a $2,000 stipend. 

The program is scheduled to start on Sept. 5, with applications due by Aug. 29. Those interested can apply at

The late Erick Laine was CEO of Alcas Corporation – now Cutco Corporation. To honor his memory and commitment to Cattaraugus County, his family created an endowed fund to support young adults who are unsure of their career and/or educational path. The program is run in partnership with JCC and the local business community.

Contact Workforce Development Program Manager Gregg Karl with any questions at or 716.376.7572.