State in hurry to help GlobalFoundries find, train workers (with video)

The state Department of Labor is ramping up plans to help GlobalFoundries find and train workers

Officials of the state Labor Department and economic development agencies from across the Capital Region stood at the GlobalFoundries construction site Wednesday, offering more insight into the partnerships aimed at providing a pipeline of skilled workers needed to staff the computer chip plant under construction there.

GlobalFoundries will employ 1,400 at its Fab 8 chip plant, but up to 5,000 more jobs are expected to be created in the region as an indirect economic effect of the company being here.

“This company needs to fill jobs quickly with those who have a minimum of an associate’s degree,” said acting state Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner. “We need to get things done and we are confident we can get them done because of business, government and education working together.”

The state Wednesday announced three grants that will help the region train and find workers, as well as market high-tech careers to the next generation of skilled workers.

The grants funded by the state Labor Department will be controlled and distributed by the Greater Capital Region Workforce Investment Boards.

The Center for Economic Growth will get a $25,000 grant to develop the pipeline of skilled workers.

“We know there will be plenty of new jobs. We must be sure that our work force has the necessary skills to fill those jobs,” said F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth.

Another $25,000 grant will focus on career readiness programs to create a regional brand recognized by employers. A $100,000 grant will be used to market technical careers in emerging industries as well as help the unemployed or people looking to change careers.

The state said it will also help GlobalFoundries recruit workers through its electronic job-matching system, SMART 2010.

“In the future, the region will be using further resources from this grant program to target and train workers in advanced manufacturing. This training will support the work being done by GlobalFoundries and other manufacturers in the region,” Gardner said in the announcement.

The regional model that will benefit the area’s work force and educational system means an increasing focus on science, technology, engineering and math-related careers, according to Norm Armour, vice president and general manager of Fab 8.

“It’s important for us to help increase the focus on STEM education, to improve the utilization of vocational education and community college programs and to create a clear pathway to the skills training and higher education opportunities that will translate into great careers right here in New York’s Tech Valley,” Armour said in an announcement.

Anita Daly, chair of the Saratoga County Economic Development Committee, said Saratoga County has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure to prepare for its future. Having the work force ready for the opportunities presented by GlobalFoundries remains important.

“The risk is not acting,” she said.

Other agencies involved in the regional partnership aimed at improving the work force had similar comments.

“We recognize we have a responsibility to develop a high-tech-ready work force for the explosion coming our way,” said Dan Gentile, a spokesman for the Greater Capital Region Workforce Investment Boards.

“We realize that the education pipeline has to be stronger,” said Deputy SUNY Chancellor Johanna Duncan-Poitier, who said the largest comprehensive higher education system in the country wants to help fill the needs of high-tech employers. “The State University of New York, as part of its statewide strategic planning process, is committed to ensuring the economic vitality and quality of life for this state.”

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