CARS HOMES JOBS

College to build Luther Forest center

Students to train for chip companies

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
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— Hudson Valley Community College plans to break ground this spring on a new building in Luther Forest where students will train to make computer chips for companies like Advanced Micro Devices, or pick up alternative energy technology skills.

The Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies building, abbreviated to TEC-SMART, will be at the state’s Saratoga Technology and Energy Park.

The energy park is next door to the Luther Forest Technology Campus, where AMD plans to build a computer chip factory, starting later this year.

The STEP park is owned by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which is a partner with HVCC in TEC-SMART. It would be the second new building at the park, which was established in 2001.

HVCC officials have been working with AMD for the last two years on developing a training program to supply a skilled workforce for the $4.6 billion factory, where 1,465 people are expected to work once it reaches full production.

Program graduates will receive a two-year associate degree.

Planning for the TEC-SMART building has been under way since 2007, when former state Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, announced he had come up with $13.5 million in funding.

Those plans now appear to be about to become reality. An architect representing the school and NYSERDA is scheduled to appear before the Malta Planning Board at 6:30 tonight to present details on the building’s site plan.

The 35,000-square-foot building will include a “clean room,” the type of highly sterile manufacturing space in which computer chips are made by companies like AMD.

In addition, the college will offer vocational training for work in alternative energy technologies. NYSERDA has said those technologies include photovoltaics, wind power, geothermal, alternative fuels and energy-efficient buildings.

Town officials hope the tech training program will become the foundation for an HVCC mini-campus, giving the Troy college a larger local presence, with a variety of courses.

Based on a spring groundbreaking, the new facility should be ready to start taking students in its two-year program in the fall of 2010.

That would give it its first graduating class in the spring of 2012, about the time the AMD factory would be gearing up for production.

The college projects TEC-SMART could train 500 to 600 students over a five- to 10-year period.

AMD, meanwhile, hopes to have a shareholder decision Wednesday on a corporate restructuring that includes assigning the Luther Forest factory to a new partnership being formed between AMD and an investment fund in Abu Dhabi.

If shareholders approve the plan, AMD officials have said they want to begin clearing land in March, and start construction of the 1.3 million-square-foot factory this summer.

 
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