Putting at least 3,000 more people to work is the goal of a nearly $15 million grant to New York state’s community colleges for worker training in high-technology fields.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday announced $14.6 million in funding for the Training and Education in Advanced Manufacturing Educational Pathways, which will help establish worker training and education programs at 30 SUNY community colleges,
Schumer, D-N.Y., said this grant program came out of conversations with business owners who told him they had job openings but applicants lacked the necessary skills to fill them. Fields include nanotechnology, biosciences and advanced manufacturing.
Locally, Schenectady County Community College is receiving $436,288; Fulton-Montgomery Community College and Hudson Valley Community College, $95,864 each; and SUNY Adirondack, $35,880.
Schumer worked with SUNY on the application for the funding, which is through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program.
“This multimillion dollar federal investment is a game changer that will connect unemployed New Yorkers with the state’s top employers that are ready to hire skilled workers in their own back yard,” he said in a statement.
A number of economic development groups and companies are working with SUNY, including GlobalFoundries locally. Schumer estimated that 1,338 workers could be trained in the Capital Region with this funding.
Officials believe this initial money could spur $25 million in private investment.
HVCC spokesman Dennis Kennedy said the program would be used to expand the school’s semiconductor manufacturing technology programs. Specifically, it would likely go toward the 25-credit semiconductor technology certificate program offered by the School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies.
This program provides the specialized knowledge of semiconductors and nanotechnology needed for entry-level jobs in the industry.
The other program is an associate’s degree in electrical technology/semiconductor manufacturing technology.
SCCC President Quintin Bullock said the grant funding would be used to create a nanontechnology program specifically designed for returning veterans and unemployed workers seeking retraining. Bullock said he was not sure how many students would be served because he hadn’t received the notice of funding yet.
The news of the grant funding came as SCCC also celebrated the completion of the 112,000-square-foot College Suites at Washington, the student housing located across the street from the school. Close to 200 people attended a dedication and reception.
Bullock said the dormitory will allow the college to attract students beyond the immediate area from which it normally draws.
The Troy-based United Group of Companies built the 264-bed facility.
“It’s a $13 million private investment into this revitalized and growing downtown area,” said Jeff Buell, development executive for the United Group of Companies.
Schenectady County Legislator Gary Hughes, who also serves on the SCCC Board of Trustees, said the project is a “catalyst that will help us with the second phase of downtown revitalization, namely Erie Boulevard to the Western Gateway Bridge.”
Those in attendance also paid tribute to Walter F. Uccellini and James F. Quinn, chairman and vice chairman of the United Group of Companies, who were killed Aug. 15 when their small plane crashed in a Clifton Park neighborhood.
Uccellini was described as a driving force whose enthusiasm for the project won the company the job. Buell also said a plaque to be placed at the site will honor Quinn.
“He left an indelible mark on all of us,” Buell said, “and he is a man that will be remembered fondly for a very long time.”