New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced 55 million dollars in funding for the SUNY 2020 challenge grants. The money is being distributed to five projects across the state, including one at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh.
The SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant is awarding Clinton Community College $12.7 million to construct an advanced manufacturing institute on the campus. The facility, when completed, will collaborate with SUNY Plattsburgh and Clarkson University.
College officials met with regional partners Wednesday to discuss the award and what it means for the area. Interim college president Fred Smith says the investment will help the college and the region. “This is exciting. What’s going to happen with our advanced manufacturing institute is only going to support and feed those operations that already exist and put us in an even better position to attract more businesses to this area.”
This will be the North Country’s first advanced manufacturing institute. Clinton Community College Director of the Center for Community and Workforce Development Paul DeDominicas says the institute will lead to regional transformation. He notes that the Regional Economic Development Council identified aerospace and transportation manufacturing as priority clusters for economic development in the region, the basis for the project. “In the strictest terms the grant is bricks and mortar. But the idea and the project that this building represents is much larger than that. It links up workforce development, economic development and education in a way that hasn’t been done before. We tie in to the Regional Economic Development Council work. We tie into SUNY Plattsburgh and Clarkson University. We are partnered with the Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce in the North Country, CiTEC, CV-TEC, the Workforce Investment Board. So while the grant is for a building, the idea is much bigger than that.”
DeDominicas adds that the institute will expand on a number of programs that are already under way. “It centralizes and expands the programs that we offer. Our industrial technology, our electrical technology, our computer programs. Things like that. It’s going to be a multi-functional space, so it really expands our ability to serve the companies that are here already and then hopefully be able to draw new companies in on the economic development side to be able to say yes, we have the capacity to train the folks that you need for the jobs that you’re bringing. So everything from electrical technology to hydraulics and pneumatics and blueprint reading, all kind of things that revolve around manufacturing.”
Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Garry Douglas. “This partnership, not a building but a partnership that happens to be centered in a building, is going to add greatly to that compelling story that our economic development community has to tell now. There will be good jobs in this community in the years ahead because of this announcement.”
Audio from the press conference at Clinton Community College is courtesy of Mountain Lake PBS.
Officials hope to break ground on the two-story, 30-thousand square foot advanced manufacturing institute next spring and open the facility in 2016. It’s estimated construction will employ about 100 people.