Rochester Chamber Debuts Forklift Training Program

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Partner members Foodlink and Monroe Community College’s Corporate College to offer an introductory forklift and industrial vehicle training course.  The program is an initiative driven by input from Rochester Chamber member companies in need of entry-level material handling employees.

Rochester Chamber Strategic Initiatives Manager Adrian Hale said, “Our objective is to prepare the applicants for the workforce by giving them a general fluency and proficiency in how to operate forklifts as well as the safety procedures and regulations, so that we can produce a higher quality applicant for employers.  That business is then able to train them for their specific site and their specific equipment.”

After a three hour classroom session, the trainees hit the floor at the Foodlink warehouse for five hours of hands-on training with stand-up forklifts, sit-down forklifts, and electric pallet jacks.  The training provides participants with OSHA certification to operate the machinery, allowing them to pursue further training and certification on equipment with employers.

Hale said, “We would like this program to become the go-to for Rochester Chamber’s nine-county Finger Lakes region service area.  If a company is looking for people to operate forklifts, hopefully we can establish a level of reputation that we can pipeline people into work.”

Foodlink Executive Director Julia Tedesco said, "Partnering with Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has enabled Foodlink to deepen our commitment to workforce development. Our partnership with the chamber has allowed us to leverage our combined resources and assets to train individuals with tangible skills and expand their employment opportunities. In the long run this helps us accomplish our mission by helping them to feed themselves and their families."

Five of the ten inaugural participants received job offers from area employers immediately following the day-long training session.  The next Rochester Chamber forklift training program session dates are October 23, November 27, and December 18.  For more information, contact Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Strategic Initiatives Manager Adrian Hale at or (585) 256-4605.      

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Classroom Training