SUNY Chancellor King Announces Heckscher Foundation Challenge Grants to Cobleskill, Delhi, and Genesee Campuses

July 20, 2023

Among 20 Institutions to Receive Part of a $7.6-Million Investment to Create More Than 1,100 Full-Time Jobs in New York

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced that SUNY's Cobleskill, Delhi, and Genesee campuses are among 20 institutions receiving Heckscher Foundation Challenge grants from the Heckscher Foundation for Children.

This is a first-of-its-kind workforce development program intended to create more than 1,100 full-time jobs for underserved young adults in New York State. The grants were awarded to colleges, community-based organizations, and one high school that have each partnered with employers to train, mentor, and provide full-time jobs to underprivileged youth. Young adults under the age of 25 participating in the programs will develop the necessary skills and receive the training required for success in today's workforce.

"Through the Heckscher Foundation Challenge grants, our campuses will be able to expand on workforce training programs to help students couple coursework in the classroom with exposure to specialized fields like histotechnology at SUNY Cobleskill, computer numerical control certification at Genesee Community College, and mechatronics at SUNY Delhi," said SUNY Chancellor King. "These are all emerging fields in growing industries across our state, and I am thankful for the employer partnerships cultivated by our campuses as well as the support of the foundation to expand these programs further to reach more New Yorkers from underserved communities."

The Heckscher Foundation's unique initiative is a transformative grant model for work readiness and job placement programs. It differs from traditional models because a full-time job commitment from the employer partner is required to be considered for grant funding. This new initiative will provide job seekers with a clear path to a meaningful career—and offer a critical solution to ongoing workforce shortages.

"Traditional models for philanthropic workforce development have remained stagnant for decades, failing to produce adequate full-time job opportunities for the communities that need them the most," said Peter Sloane, CEO of the Heckscher Foundation. "With an ongoing labor shortage, our new initiative comes at a critical time and serves as a model for shifting the paradigm of workforce development programming. We applaud our grantees and employer partners who are giving these young people a chance at a lifelong career, and we hope the initiative inspires others to adopt our approach of creating alternative paths to full-time employment."

The three SUNY campus awardees include:

  • SUNY Cobleskill is partnering with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York University, Montefiore Medical Centers, and Rockland Community College to establish NYC- and Rockland County-based histotechnician training programs. Histotechnicians prepare human and animal tissue samples for microscopic pathological examination, playing a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. SUNY Cobleskill offers the only accredited, degree-granting histotechnician program in New York State, a two-year associate degree.
  • SUNY Delhi is partnering with JBT Corporation to strengthen workforce development in the manufacturing sector. The award will allow SUNY Delhi's mechatronics program to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and curriculum advancement to help meet the demand for workers that are skilled in robotics, pneumatics, and hydraulics both in New York State and nationwide.
  • Genesee Community College is partnering with employers including Edwards Vacuum and Amada Tool America. With this award, GCC is developing a computer numerical control certification training program within its BEST (Business Employee Skills & Training) Center. This new training program is an urgent regional priority and is necessary to meet the demand for skilled workers in the Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, and Wyoming County (GLOW) region.

SUNY Cobleskill President Dr. Marion Terenzio said, "In partnership with the Heckscher Foundation, we are building histotechnician training capacity for New York State while expanding our program's reach directly into geographic areas in high need of trained histology professionals. Histology is a field that is only continuing to grow, with more job openings than there are people to fill them. Working with the Heckscher Foundation and major players in our state's health care system, we can boost access to education in this field and address a talent shortage at a critical stage in medical research and diagnosis."

Dr. Mary Bonderoff, acting president at SUNY Delhi, said, "Through this generous grant, SUNY Delhi is thrilled to be able to partner with JBT Corporation to strengthen workforce development for our unique mechatronics program and help fill the technical skills gap in the manufacturing industry. Investing in curriculum advancements and state-of-the-art equipment for robotics, pneumatics, and hydraulics will allow mechatronics students at SUNY Delhi to become leaders in their field and, in turn, benefit their communities in New York State and beyond. Our partnership with JBT Corporation aligns with SUNY Delhi's commitment to providing applied learning opportunities while also strengthening our role as a frontrunner in producing a highly qualified workforce for the technical sector."

GCC President Dr. James Sunser said, "Genesee Community College is grateful to the Heckscher Foundation for this award and to our industry partners, Edwards Vacuum and Amada Tool America, for their collaboration and support. Recent investments by funders and employers have poised the GLOW region to become an even greater hub for advanced manufacturing, including semiconductor manufacturing. GCC looks forward to being involved at every step of the way."

About the Heckscher Foundation for Children

The Heckscher Foundation for Children uses venture philanthropy to fund innovative, results-driven programs and partnerships that level the playing field for underserved youth. Its grants focus primarily on education, including college access and persistence, workforce training and jobs access, and arts education that improves achievement in the classroom. Learn more at

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

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