By Michael Gwizdala, The Record
Realizing the potential of the “invisible workforce.” That goal was top of mind as educators, students, community and business leaders, and elected officials gathered at Hudson Valley Community College’s Cogan Hall Automotive Lab, Wednesday morning. They gathered to unveil plans for an Applied Technology Education Center (ATEC) on HVCC’s Troy campus.
The proposed $85 million, 130,000-square-foot facility will look to train graduates for the “new economy.” ATEC will provide credit and non-credit offerings, preparing new and returning learners for in-demand careers with long and short-term programs. Students will be trained in career industries including but not limited to automotive and transportation technologies, offshore wind, HVAC, welding, and semiconductor manufacturing. ATEC’s increased capacity will have the potential to add 15,000 technicians to New York’s workforce by 2035.
HVCC President Dr. Roger Ramsammy remarked on the need to create skilled workers to match the needs of approximately 17 million vacant skill trade and applied-related jobs.
“Just in our region, we are experiencing unprecedented demands for electricians, electrical engineers, HVAC, mechatronics technicians, semiconductor manufacturing technicians, welders, welding fabricators, electric and autonomous vehicle technicians, and more!” Ramsammy exclaimed.
“We know because that’s our business here at the college and we have to interact with our community, who comes to us begging us to provide that workforce,” Ramsammy continued.
He noted the preparations the college has taken to realize this vision of creating a future workforce, back in 2018.
“We’ve put together what was needed to be in that building. We began establishing the groundwork for what’s going to be in this building by targeting the invisible workforce. We began by building a high school on our campus because we knew that we had to reach deep to our middle school students and get them into our high schools with a mindset,” Ramsammy explained.
Unlike some other four-year institutions, Ramsammy noted the importance of investing in students who will stay and work here in our communities for the local economy and incentivizing more to do the same.
“At Hudson Valley when you pour dollars into here, 97 percent of the kids stay right here and do what they’re supposed to do, serve our business community,” Ramsammy noted.
“This 130,000 square foot building is a building that is going to be constructed to serve that invisible community and it is our friends, our family today, who is going to be part of a signing ceremony to pledge to continue to work with us to make sure that those invisible workers enter that building and exit with the skills whether it’s three months of training of credit or non-credit, six months of training of credit or non-credit, or one year or whether they decide to go on for degrees, it doesn’t matter as long as they have the skills to serve your business is what’s important at the end of the day,” Ramsammy added.
When built, ATEC will enable HVCC to:
- Increase enrollment in skilled trades programs by 200 percent.
- Train up to 5,000 new skilled technicians in the next decade, to support the workforce in the areas they are needed most.
- Expand current programs in areas like Electric and Autonomous Vehicles and Welding and Fabrication to support emerging industries.
- Establish new programs that focus on areas of key demand.
- Expand fast-track workforce training courses for those already employed in key industries by offering advanced, industry-validated certifications and skill- and competency-based non-credit workforce training programs and boot camps.
- Become a magnet for manufacturers and other technical companies around the region and the Northeast seeking a highly skilled workforce and use of industry resources.
- Fill the skilled trades industry’s skills gap, meet workforce demand, and help grow the region’s economy.
- Provide the model for other centers for applied technologies at SUNY institutions statewide.