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McDonald’s offers larger educational plum to seek new hires

McDonald’s restaurant owners and Rochester City Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced on Thursday morning two new recruitment tools that may help the restaurants hire about 230 new employees this fall.

McDonald’s is expanding its Archways to Opportunities program that supports employees attending college, completing high school diploma requirements, or learning English. At the same time, it has partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons to be able to tap into new hires 50 years and older.

The local announcement was made at the McDonald’s restaurant at Upper Falls Boulevard and North Clinton Avenue, one of the busiest McDonald’s restaurants in the Rochester area.

“This is about much more than jobs; it’s about an opportunity,” Warren said. “That’s life-changing.”

Warren later donned a visor and apron to serve some customers going through the restaurant’s drive-through, which accounts for about three-quarters of that shop’s business.

Archways to Opportunity, launched in 2015, provides $2,500 a year for educational expenses, offers educational advisers, coaches employees trying to earn an online high school diploma, and makes English language classes available.

The company has changed its eligibility requirements so employees can access tuition assistance after just 90 days of employment instead of nine months, and dropped its minimum hourly requirement to 15 hours a week instead of 20.

Susan Garrett, a 20-year-old Monroe Community College student who works at the Baytown McDonald’s in Penfield, said the Archways program helped her pay for tuition and some of her books. She is in her second year of nursing studies at MCC and has worked for McDonald’s for a year, while also working at Wegmans, the city resident said.

Glen Jeter, the owner and operator of the Upper Falls McDonald’s, said he recently approved an application for the first Upper Falls employee to access the program.

At the same time, the McDonald’s corporation recently completed the AARP process required to advertise jobs through that organization’s channels, said Louis Buono, who operates 12 restaurants in the Rochester area. McDonald’s offers work for people who to return to work after retiring, and for those who never retired but want to continue to work into their older years, he said.

Up to 8 percent of his work force of 650 employees fall into the AARP age group, Buono said.

“Some have worked 15 years or more years,” he said. “And a bunch of employees came back and need part-time work.”

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Donation brings Wi-Fi to the Rochester City Public Market

Now you can bring your laptop to the Rochester Public Market.

A contribution of equipment and technical assistance from Datto, the international IT leader that recently built a major presence in downtown Rochester, has helped provide free Wi-Fi at the public market.

Shoppers who linger at the market over coffee before or after browsing the produce now will be able to browse the Internet more easily, too.

“While we pride ourselves on having a historic Public Market, we also know that our facilities must serve the public of today,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren.  “We extend our deep gratitude to Datto for their generous contributions of equipment and expertise that improves the market and helps create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our city.”

“Datto is committed to investing in the City of Rochester, and if this small contribution can play a role in continuing to grow Rochester’s appeal as a center for technology growth, it is a win for all of us” said Datto Chief Marketing Officer Matthew Richards.

Datto, founded by Rochester Institute of Technology grad Austen McChord, provided equipment for the market’s Wi-Fi infrastructure and support to configure, test and launch the network. They’re continuing to provide tech support for free.

The system provides a dedicated network for vendors and a guest network for customers and visitors.

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VisualDx to expand downtown office, staff

VisualDx, a company that develops medical imaging computer software, will expand its downtown Rochester offices by 5,000 square feet with the help of $700,000 in state and regional grants and tax breaks.

Empire State Development announced the development Wednesday, Dec. 27, saying the expansion will help the company accommodate 21 new jobs, joining a current staff of 39.

VisualDx, located in the former Valley Cadillac Building on East Avenue, will receive a grant of $100,000 from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, and up to $600,000 through the state’s Excelsior Tax Credit Program.

“Companies like VisualDx are critical to the success of the Downtown Innovation Zone in Rochester and cement the Finger Lakes Region’s reputation as a national leader for high-tech innovation,” said Howard Zemsky, president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development.

Dr. Art Papier, CEO of VisualDx, said, “We believe Rochester is an ideal spot for technology innovation and are proud to bring two of the city’s best assets together—imaging and healthcare—to improve medical decision-making. We appreciate the support to expand our operations and retain the local talent available.”

The company plans to use the funding to develop an artificial intelligence technology that will allow home users to take a picture of a rash and get guidance on what to do. VisualDx was founded 19 years ago by doctors, educators, artists and computer scientists. Its products are used in more than half of US medical schools and 1,700 treatment facilities, helping medical providers compare diagnostic possibilities of patients’ signs and symptoms, aiming to improve care while reducing potential errors.

Several state and local elected officials offered their congratulations to the company, including Rochester City Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The success of companies like VisualDx underscores the dramatic change taking place in Rochester as entrepreneurs continue to leverage the knowledge generated by our colleges and universities and the talents of so many young people who are eager to live in our city,” Warren said.

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Rochester Public Market to add one more Holidays at the Market event Dec. 17

Shoppers have a bonus Holidays at the Market event Sunday, Dec. 17, at the City of Rochester Public Market.

By popular request a fourth day was added to the original schedule of three Sundays when market patrons can shop for Christmas trees and wreaths, take horse-drawn carriage rides with Santa Claus, and enjoy food and other holiday shopping. Hours at the free event are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “During this busy time of year, this event provides a wonderful opportunity for families to spend some quality time together shopping, having fun, and enjoying all of the festive foods and merchandise our many vendors have to offer.”

According to city officials, the popularity of the 22-year-old event, along with requests to hold the special shopping days both over Thanksgiving weekend and closer to Christmas inspired the addition of a fourth Sunday.

Through carriage rides at the market are free, a limited number of rides are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free tickets are offered in the new indoor B shed  starting at 10 a.m. The shed will feature many of the regular Saturday vendors, too. The indoor space will also host stations for free holiday cookie decorating and making art. Many prepared food vendors will be open in the market and immediately surrounding area.

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