BY PETER MILLER
Valley Community College (HVCC) at Luther Forest
hosted the launch of a public-private coalition
to promote innovative practices in education and
workforce development across a 13-county region
in New York state.
Called the Tech Valley Connection for Education
and Workforce Development, the initiative was
created by GlobalFoundries and the Center for
Economic Growth (CEG). At its launch, it consists
of 20 regional chambers of commerce, 111 school
districts, and 345 schools, with dozens of business,
teacher, and student “ambassadors” helping to
drive the program.
Viewed as a laboratory in which to facilitate, coordinate and communicate best practices among K-12 and higher education institutions in the region, the initiative is intended to provide a model to be scaled to the rest of New York state, and ultimately, the nation. According to F. Michael Tucker, president of CEG, there is no better region to undertake such a large scale, comprehensive initiative.
The trick to achieving that “was how to connect the dots between the most innovative programs,” said Russo. Already in 2009, there were people who wanted to work with GlobalFoundries to find the best way to make education and workforce development more cohesive.
Tech Valley High School in Albany was recognized for encouraging students to learn about the alternative energy sources that the world will need to sustain itself and to build projects to tap those energy sources. Brent Weil, senior vice president for education and workforce at the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C., spoke of the importance of training a workforce in advanced manufacturing techniques that are necessary to keep the U.S. economy robust and competitive. He commended the representatives of Global- Foundries, CEG, educational and governmental institutions, and the entire Tech Valley community that have managed to create such a strong coalition dedicated to preparing for the jobs of today and tomorrow. He also pointed out that his organization has granted the SUNY system of community colleges funds to develop programs that offer advanced manufacturing skills. Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY senior vice chancellor for community college and the educational pipeline, said the top 30 Fortune 500 companies have 130,000 jobs today that they cannot fill. By 2018, virtually all of the good-paying jobs will require no less than a two-year college degree. She highlighted the opportunities offered by community colleges to prepare people young and old for those good-paying jobs. “STEM is everywhere,” she said, “and you have to be ready for it.” The launch of the Regional Education Initiative concluded with a reception and tours of the GlobalFoundries Manufacturing Technology Development Center and HVCC’s TEC-SMART campus. For more information, visit www.ceg.org.