ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--This week the first two cohorts graduate from the New York State Department of Labor's first direct entry program for registered apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing. 

The 12 week pre-apprenticeship program, called Real Life Rosies, intends to help women gain skills  needed to fill apprenticeship positions in advanced manufacturing and improve diversity in the workforce. 

Eileen Donovan, senior workforce development specialist with the Manufacturing Association of Central New York, said the program is already seeing success. 

“The employers have really embraced the idea because it’s hard for them to bring in employees with the skills,” she said. 

Real Life Rosies is part of the Governor's $350 million commitment to workforce development in last year's budget. 

Donovan said in manufacturing women continue to make up a small percent of the entire workforce but this program could help change this.

“We’re hoping that with this kind of attention to expanding the diversity, we’re hoping that those numbers will move quicker, and faster, and better towards more women in manufacturing,” she said.