ICYMI: SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and US Congressman Paul D. Tonko Tour Capital District Region Businesses

February 22, 2018

Visits to Three Area Manufacturing Companies: Automated Dynamics, Beech-Nut, and STS Steel

Chancellor Johnson, Congressman Tonko, and Community College Leadership Speak with Business Leaders and SUNY Alumni

Albany – SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and US Congressman Paul D. Tonko toured three manufacturing companies representing the agriculture, infrastructure, and composite industries in the Capital District Region—Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., STS Steel, and Automated Dynamics—to highlight local workforce educational needs and SUNY partnerships with Upstate New York industry.

Chancellor Johnson and Congressman Tonko met with business leaders to discuss workplace training needs and to speak with SUNY alumni employed at each company about how their academic experiences impacted their career paths. They were joined by regional community college leadership including Fulton-Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger, Hudson Valley Community College President Andrew Matonak, and Schenectady County Community College Chief of Staff Paula Ohlhous. Community college leadership discussed ongoing collaborations with the companies and ways they could continue to grow such connections.

"Congressman Tonko is a strong advocate for SUNY, and I am thankful for the opportunity to join him in both addressing the business needs for this area, as well as the needs of our community—specifically about strengthening the Capital Region workforce, advancing sustainable energy, and protecting water quality," said Chancellor Johnson. "This region is one of the economic engines for New York State, and as outlined in my inaugural state of the university system address, it is imperative that SUNY continues to be a leader in creating strategic partnerships through workforce training, and helping individualize our education to graduate students with the skills these companies need to grow."

"Our SUNY schools play a vital role in advancing the Capital Region workforce and helping students and graduates create opportunities to realize their dreams right here at home, all without breaking the bank," said Congressman Tonko. "I want to thank Chancellor Johnson for her eager interest in connecting with our region’s leading businesses, local governments, and other critical organizations, and especially for her commitment to delivering on the workforce needs and opportunities that exist throughout our region."

"Fulton Montgomery Community College has worked with many local companies to help keep their workforce current with technology," said Fulton Montgomery Community College President Swanger. "We have worked with Beech-Nut to develop an electro-mechanical program that updates the skills of the workforce to maintain the highly technical and efficient equipment that drives their manufacturing plant today. We are happy to partner with Beech-Nut as it continues to be a large employer in our region and New York State."

"Congressman Tonko, SUNY Chancellor Johnson, and our local manufacturing businesses understand that the partnership between business, government, and higher education is instrumental in ensuring a prosperous future for our region," said Hudson Valley Community College President Matonak. "At Hudson Valley, we’re very proud of the part we play to create a well-trained workforce through a wide variety of job training programs, including Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Civil Engineering, and Clean Energy Management, to name a few. Together, we are well-positioned to meet the needs of employers, promote sustainability, and support the economic growth of our region."

"SUNY SCCC regularly partners with local companies to create industry-driven training," said Schenectady County Community College President Steady Moono. "Through a SUNY Workforce Development Training Grant program, our faculty will be offering leadership and management training to employees from ShopRite Supermarkets, Inova (a manufacturer of multi-functional furniture solutions) and Precision Valve and Automation (a manufacturer of automated dispensing and coating robots). We feel energized by the relationships we maintain with business and industry, and the insight that our business partners provide is integral to creating programs that reflect the marketplace, thus better preparing students for sustainable wage career pathways."

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, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three 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 opportunities, visit suny.edu.

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