SUNY Community Colleges, New York Businesses to Launch High-Need Workforce Training Programs This Fall

May 13, 2013

Albany — State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today convened the first meeting of a consortium of SUNY community colleges and hundreds of New York State businesses tasked with collaborating to deliver new education programs and targeted workforce training as a result of a $14.6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded in September 2012 and in alignment with New York's workforce development agenda, as highlighted by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in this year's State of the State Address.

The grant, issued as part of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program, has partnered a consortium of all 30 SUNY community colleges, led by Monroe Community College, with over 150 of New York businesses and economic development organizations to design programs that directly address the needs of employers in industries such as nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing, where the state’s demand for a skilled labor force is at an all-time high and growing.

“Broad participation from employers in high-need industries, Governor Cuomo’s leadership, and federal support from Senator Schumer and his colleagues has enabled SUNY to develop training and education programs that will shape New York's future workforce and drive its economy,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “We are deeply grateful for this opportunity to do what we do best – create jobs and educate students to fill those jobs – and we look forward to bringing these outstanding 21st-century programs to every region.”

“SUNY has some of the top schools in our country and – by matching local industries' jobs needs with targeted skills-development – this brand new consortium will put our students on the path to success,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, who kicked off today’s event. “Amazingly, even with high unemployment, there are many industries across Upstate New York that struggle to fill open positions because of a lack of locally available skilled workers. This partnership will bridge the gap between businesses' demand for 21st-century skill sets to perform high-paying jobs and the local supply of students and workers in need of re-training.

“Thank you to SUNY Chancellor Zimpher for providing this innovative education program to students and workers in New York; I am confident this initiative will energize our educational centers, put people to work, and boost Upstate New York's economy.”

Since receiving the grant in September, SUNY's 30 community college have developed many new education programs that will prepare more than 3,000 students for careers in the advanced manufacturing fields of nanotechnology, photovoltaics, semi-conductors, plastics technology, welding, electrical engineering, and optics.

Student services, prior-learning assessment, workforce-readiness assessments, and fast-track developmental education based on best practice models will help students successfully complete their training and education in two years or less. In addition, the consortium is developing programs that address the unique needs of veterans and displaced workers.

Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline, said, “As the nation's premier system of public higher education and a major driver of New York's economic and workforce development, SUNY is uniquely positioned to educate and prepare students for 21st-century careers. In partnership with businesses in every region, and with the continued support of our elected leaders, SUNY's community colleges can and will continue to spur job growth statewide and build a competitive workforce for New York's future.”

Some of the new programs, which will be launched in Fall 2013, are:

  • SUNY Adirondack and advanced manufacturing companies have partnered to help students and veterans entering, reentering, or upgrading skills in the areas of advanced manufacturing.
  • Cayuga Community College and the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) are developing internship and cooperative education opportunities for students in the fields of plastics technology and precision manufacturing.
  • Corning Community College and the American Welding Society will develop a new welding program that meets industry standards and uses virtual welding simulators to train students.
  • SUNY Ulster is expanding its existing programs in manufacturing and solar manufacturing to apply industry standards and certification and training, and is exploring non-credit to credit options within its Industrial Design and Engineering programs.
  • Schenectady Community College is working with the UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering and GLOBALFOUNDRIES to develop a nanotechnology training program to be implemented in partnership with Mohawk Valley and Fulton-Montgomery Community Colleges.

At today's convening, New York businesses and industry groups including Cisco, General Electric (GE), GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Keller Technology, the Manufacturing Association of New York (MACNY), and many others highlighted the new programs they developed in partnership with local colleges and shared best practices to further the discussion and development of additional programs across the state.

Manufacturers Association President Randy Wolken said, “In order to create the strong and skilled 21st-century workforce that New York must have to ensure global competitiveness, it is essential that we work to make certain that the education and training programs of the future align with the needs of manufacturers. With the TAACCCT Training Grant, we have the opportunity to provide industry recognized credentials, certificates, and degrees for the workforce of tomorrow. We can open our doors to students and trainees so they can appreciate what advanced manufacturing has become, and gain needed work experience while they are in training. And lastly, we have a unique opening to create the career pathways that will lead to the skilled jobs that will build a stronger economy for New York State.”

Mike Russo, director of government relations and education initiatives for GLOBALFOUNDRIES, said, "We at GLOBALFOUNDRIES are grateful for what we see as a strategic partnership with SUNY. This conference is another example of SUNY's collaborative approach in developing progressive programs and curriculum that meet the needs of today's workforce as well as ensuring educational pathways for people of all ages to better prepare them for the jobs of the future."

Chris Sansone, continuous improvement manager at Keller Technology Corporation, said, "Today we lack qualified candidates to fill family sustaining jobs within our local manufacturers. In addition, we estimate that by the year 2020, 17,000 regional manufacturing positions will need to be filled as our retirees exit the workforce. As a result, we need to act now by working together with local government, educators and employers to build a robust training pipeline and to ensure that the right skills are being taught. We support the TAACCCT grant and its ability to foster a collaborative effort among the parties that have a vested interest in shaping our local workforce and growing our regional manufacturing economy."

Mahany Welding Supply President Michael Krupnicki said, "A company's success hinges on the availability of a quality workforce. When higher education and businesses work together – much like MCC and Rochester Arc + Flame are doing – we can build a workforce pipeline that allows businesses to grow, our neighbors to earn a family-supporting wage, and our communities to thrive. SUNY should be commended for its system-wide commitment to educating a high tech workforce for New York State."

The SUNY consortium is also working with many economic development groups as part of the initiative, including the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals; local Workforce Investment Boards; NYS Department of Labor; NYS Education Department; Empire State Development Corp.; AFL CIO Workforce Development Institute; Center for Economic Growth; NYS Business Council; Manufacturers Alliance of NYS; Healthcare Association of NYS; Interstate Renewable Energy Council; Garment Industry Development Corp.; Partnership of NYC; NYS Hospitality and Tourism; and the NYS Grape and Wine Association.

Today's convening, held at the SUNY Global Center in New York City, was attended by college representatives, employers, representatives from NYS Department of Labor, and economic development partners from across the state.


About TAACCCT

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act amended the Trade Act of 1974 to authorize the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program.
TAACCCT provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, are suited for workers who are eligible for training under the TAA for Workers program, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. Through these multi-year grants, the Department of Labor is helping to ensure that our nation's institutions of higher education are helping adults succeed in acquiring the skills, degrees, and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment while also meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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