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Clinton to Receive Funding for Worker Education and Training Programs

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2012) Today, during a conference call, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced his successful push to secure $14.6 million for a consortium of thirty SUNY community colleges to fund worker training and education programs that will help unemployed workers learn skills essential to securing local jobs in emerging industries.

Schumer announced that twenty-six community colleges, three colleges of technology and a
four-year college specializing in on-line education will benefit from this massive grant at his request from the Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program (TAACCCT).

Schumer worked directly with SUNY to develop a strong application and personally lobbied the Dept. of Labor and the Administration to grant this award to New York, which received one of the largest pots of funding nationwide.

This Schumer-supported proposal, called Training and Education in Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Educational Pathways Project, will now have the funding to establish permanent worker training programs at these schools, for eligible upstate New Yorkers in growing fields like nanotechnology, biosciences, and advanced manufacturing.

Once established, these training programs are expected to train at least 3,000 individuals on the short term, and hundreds more down the road once up and running. This announcement is critical to closing the gap between the hundreds of available jobs in these industries and the documented lack of skilled local workers to fill those positions.

SUNY schools and over 100 businesses throughout the state will now have the resources to develop job training programs that build on successful programs of the past to meet the new needs of industry leaders across the state.

“This multi-million 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 backyard,” said Schumer. “I am thrilled we secured this $14.6 million investment, which will use SUNY’s community colleges to focus like a laser on equipping workers with the necessary skills to succeed in industries that are flourishing right in our local communities. As I toured the state this year and met with business leaders across upstate, company after company told me that they were ready to hire workers, but that there was a mismatch between the workers out there and the skills these companies needed. This grant speaks directly to that need, and it’s just what the doctor ordered to help more upstate New Yorkers get back to work."

“Capital Region schools will train tomorrow’s nanotechnology employees, Hudson Valley schools can teach the bioscience leaders of the future, and schools across New York can ensure that area residents have the skills they need to find good-paying jobs. SUNY is a national leader in higher education, and today’s news will help keep them at the front of the pack for years to come,” added Schumer.

Schumer announced that of the 30 school consortium, 23 will receive funding from this award on the short term, and the rest will benefit from other investments leveraged against the DOL grant. Those institutions will now work hand-in-hand with other SUNY schools and over 100 businesses throughout the state in order to develop job training programs that build on successful programs of the past to meet the needs of industry leaders across the state.

The economic development groups working with SUNY in the consortium include the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals; local Workforce Investment Boards; NYS Department of Labor; NYS Education Department; Empire State Development Corp.; AFL CIO Workforce Development Institute; Center for Economic Growth; NYS Business Council; Manufacturers Alliance of NYS; Healthcare Association of NYS; Interstate Renewable Energy Council; Garment Industry Development Corp.; Partnership of NYC; NYS Hospitality and Tourism; and the NYS Grape and Wine Association. The SUNY schools, these groups and over 100 employers, including: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, PPC, International Business Machines (IBM), Nixon Gear, Novelis, Currier Plastics, Schatz Bearing Corporation, Alcoa Fastening Systems, Advance Coating Technologies, Remington Arms, Bartell Machinery, New York Air Brake, Corning, Inc., Dresser Rand, and Titan X.

Throughout Schumer’s visits across Upstate New York, dozens of additional businesses have made clear that they have good-paying jobs that require highly-skilled workers. And while they want to hire local, there are not enough workers skilled in advanced industries to do so. That is why Schumer worked directly with SUNY on their application, wrote in support of this application to the Department of Labor, and reiterated his support of SUNY’s proposal with a personal call to Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and with Administration officials.

SUNY’s consortium will receive the total amount it requested: $14,633,390. SUNY will then split up funding in the following manner:

Monroe - $7,053,729 for statewide Collaborative costs; $933,842 for MCC program costs
Adirondack - $35,880
Broome - $89,700
Cayuga - $629,306
Clinton - $262,540
Corning - $1,014,530
Dutchess - $159,190
Erie - $926,922
Fulton-Montgomery - $95,864
Genesee - $145,348
Herkimer - $12,546
Hudson Valley - $95,864
Jamestown - $35,880
Mohawk Valley - $389,937
Onondaga - $1,196,825
Orange - $124,583
Rockland - $60,908
Schenectady - $436,288
Suffolk - $103,739
Sullivan - $22,214
Tompkins-Cortland - $74,750
Ulster - $583,505
Westchester - $149,500

The alliance will focus on developing worker skills to serve seven high-demand industries across New York. Workers will be trained for skills in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, design, renewable energy, entrepreneurship/business/hospitality, and nanotechnology. Depending on the needs of particularly companies and industry leaders in a certain area, the community colleges will now use this funding develop new classes and certification programs, bring new technology into labs, and expand the availability of internships and externships at local businesses. The programs that would be supported by these funds are designed to, according to SUNY, (1) improve retention and achievement rates; (2) accelerate progress and reduce time to credential completion; and (2) provide state-of-the-art training that meets industry needs and prepares participants for entry or advancement in targeted career pathways.

Schumer believes that this regionally-focused approach, specifically targeted to enhance skills that are in high demand in communities surrounding these schools across New York, is a smart way to invest federal dollars and boost employment during a difficult economy. A new investment in New York’s community colleges would help existing worker training programs build on previous successes. At present, there are 8,000 TAA-eligible workers across New York, and SUNY believes that this consortium could provide necessary training to 3,000 of those workers initially. But the benefits would not stop there, as this grant could help leverage an estimated additional $25 million in other alliance investments. Creating a broad economy of scale among the institutions will allow the schools to pool resources and enhance their worker training efforts for the future. Schumer stated that this grant will get the ball rolling on what could ultimately serve as an unparalleled resource for displaced workers.

Many community colleges have exciting plans for the grant funds given this funding approval. For example, Erie Community College, which successfully retrained workers who had been laid off by General Motors Powertrain, would become the statewide hub for clean energy job training, and will also offer training for jobs in electronic health records positions. Erie Community College helped train an unemployed delivery truck driver in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, and that individual found work as a Deconstruction Technician at ReUse Action. The grant funds would allow colleges across the state to replicate these successes and help boost local economies across upstate New York.

Schumer agrees with SUNY’s assertion that this statewide approach puts this alliance head and shoulders above other applications, and that coordination between the parties involved will be key to its continued success. In the grant application, SUNY states that the alliance will (1) leverage the resources of all system colleges and universities, including all 64 SUNY institutions and its multiple partners; (2) build collaborative efforts across institutions and industry sectors; (3) achieve economies of scale; (4) provide the greatest opportunity for scale-up of effective practices and sustainability over time; and (5) respond to broader statewide workforce needs that cannot be met on a local or regional level.

This grant could be a huge boost to TAA-eligible workers who will benefit from worker training programs, as well as community colleges across the state. Here is how the numbers break down:

-In the Capital Region, SUNY plans to train an initial 1,338 workers at 3 institutions serving 20,447 students.
-In Western New York, SUNY plans to train an initial 678 workers at 2 institutions serving 16,315 students.
-In the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, SUNY plans to train an initial 342 workers at 2 institutions serving 44,666 students.
-In the Southern Tier, SUNY plans to train an initial 1,056 workers at 3 institutions serving 17,227 students.
-In Central New York, SUNY plans to train an initial 1,049 workers at 3 institutions serving 23,677 students.
-In the Hudson Valley, SUNY plans to train an initial 100 workers at 6 institutions serving 57,609 students.
-In the North Country, SUNY plans to train an initial 892 workers at 3 institutions serving 9,998 students.