Governor Cuomo Directs $3 Million Expansion of SUNY Apprenticeship Program to Support Workforce Development in Key Growth Industries

September 23, 2019

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Programs in Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Other Priority Industries to be Coordinated by Mohawk Valley Community College

Announcement Comes as Governor Proclaims September 22 - 29, 2019 Workforce Development Awareness Week

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Director of Workforce Development to Lead Statewide Workforce Development Initiative Workshops

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $3 million investment in The State University of New York's Apprenticeship Program, the first Consolidated Funding Application award to come from the Governor's historic $175 million Workforce Development Initiative. The funding will expand critical apprenticeship programs, coordinated by Mohawk Valley Community College and including other SUNY schools, in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and information technology as well as other growth industries.

"Apprenticeship programs offer students the educational opportunities and hands-on experience they need to prepare them for the jobs of the future," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will expand these critical apprenticeship programs that help students succeed in New York's rapidly growing tech industries and develop our state's booming workforce."

The launch coincides with Workforce Development Awareness Week. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Director of Workforce Development Madhuri Kommareddi will lead Workforce Development Initiative workshops throughout the week at locations in Western New York, Central New York, the Southern Tier, North Country and the Mohawk Valley. This follows recent events in New York City, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Capital Region, and the Finger Lakes.

"We are re-imagining workforce development in an innovative way to meet the needs of employers who are looking to hire for jobs available now as well as those that will be filled by the next generation," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "The $175 million Workforce Development Initiative will help to ensure we close the skills gap and provide New Yorkers with job training and education they need to thrive in the 21st century. This new expansion of the SUNY Apprenticeship Program with nearly $3 million in funding will support training programs that provide students with a pipeline to jobs with local employers. We must continue to spread the word for this unprecedented level of funding that is now available for workforce development, because through this support we are meeting businesses' needs for economic growth and success and will provide financial stability and dignity to countless New Yorkers and their families across the state."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "The Governor's Workforce Development initiative is already seeding strong results with more than 40 companies and 750 individuals participating in SUNY's Apprenticeship Program. Today's announced expansion will further link our students and other individuals to jobs in up-and-coming industries. My thanks to the Governor for his support, as well as to our critical partners within the New York State Department of Labor."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric J. Gertler said, "Business success today is dependent on a workforce that can keep up with an ever-evolving job market. The SUNY Apprenticeship program is vital to ensuring we have skilled and educated workers to fill these jobs and keep pace with 21st-century skills that are essential in today's economy." 

The Governor's historic Workforce Development Initiative engages the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) to support strategic regional efforts that meet current workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility of local workforce entities, and expand workplace learning opportunities. The initiative also supports efforts to improve the economic security of populations that often face barriers to career advancement, including women, young workers, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

As part of the Workforce Development Initiative CFA process, SUNY campuses may apply for funding for customized workforce development training programs with local employers, which provide matching funds. To date, projects have been approved in the North Country, Southern Tier, and Mohawk Valley regions. The training will be provided by the following community colleges with local businesses: North Country for Agri-Mark and International Paper, Broome for the Raymond Corporation, Corning for Elmira Savings Bank, and Mohawk Valley for C & H Plastics.

The $3 million funding announced today expands SUNY's Apprenticeship Program, which was launched in 2018, in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor. The program began with a focus on advanced manufacturing and healthcare, enabling local employers to provide paid employment, on-the-job training, and career opportunities to Registered Apprentices. To date, over 40 employers have participated and more than 750 individuals have benefitted from apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Senior Vice Chancellor of Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline, said, "SUNY's community colleges have been at the forefront of New York's workforce development efforts and are increasingly critical to the state's economy. We are pleased to have MVCC coordinate this apprenticeship expansion, and we look forward to working further with our partners in business and government to strengthen our state workforce."

Randall VanWagoner, president of Mohawk Valley Community College, said "Apprenticeships continue to be an exceptional way for Mohawk Valley Community College to balance our academic programs with hands-on workforce training. We, along with our partner colleges look forward to increasing their reach beyond advanced manufacturing. To ensure that we train future employees in the most relevant skills they need, we have vital partners in information technology and other industries who will benefit from this new opportunity."

Students in the apprenticeship program participate in industry-specific studies and training, and must meet Related Instruction requirements. The Registered Apprentices are employed by a corporate sponsor, and earn a credential that is portable throughout the state and beyond.

Through industry roundtables hosted by SUNY colleges, key individuals from businesses have met to discuss apprenticeship opportunities and to create more partnerships. Employer partners include All Seasonings Ingredients, Beech-Nut, Crown Cork & Seal, Feldmeier Equipment, Knowles Precision Devices, Precision Tool and Manufacturing, and Revere Copper Products.

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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