$1.3 Million Federal Grant to ESF Supports Job Training
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand supports request for funding from Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced $1,387,104 in funding for the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) to educate students and workers in the defense, automotive, electronics and medical/technical manufacturing sector.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had encouraged U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and the Department of Labor to fully fund ESF's grant request to increase the productivity and global competitiveness of today's manufacturing workforce in New York.
"This is an important investment for our workers right here in Syracuse," Gillibrand said. "The funding will allow SUNY-ESF to be a leader in training our students and workers for the manufacturing industry of the future. With the help of this training funding, we will see 'Made in America' again, here in upstate New York."
"The faculty, staff and students at SUNY-ESF are very pleased to earn this $1,387,104 award," said ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr. The funding came to the college through a Department of Labor program aimed at enhancing American jobs and global competitiveness. The program has a particular focus on sustainable materials and manufacturing and the education of New York state workers for careers in that field.
Murphy said the grant complements the nearly $1 million in funding that came to the college last year from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The NYSERDA funding helped establish the Ultraviolet Light and Electron Beam Process Curing Systems Technology Center at ESF, which supports companies developing environmentally friendly ways to make resins and coatings dry nearly instantaneously.
Murphy said the Department of Labor grant will allow ESF to train workers in the use of technologies developed through the new center. The radiation curing of resins is a $1 billion-a-year industry. It is a vital aspect of the aerospace, automotive, electronics, building products and medical technology industries. Radiation curing reduces energy consumption, reduces air pollution by virtually eliminating volatile organic compound emissions and decreases operating costs.
"These are the jobs of the future and such jobs call for a highly skilled and educated workforce," Murphy said.
ESF Associate Provost Charles M. Spuches, who is principal investigator on the grant proposal, said the project illustrates the ability of a doctoral-granting State University of New York institution to collaborate with industry and public partners to benefit the nation's economy.
"This is a new and emerging sector of the economy that the college can serve, consistent with its traditional mission," Spuches said.
Murphy said the college's history of leadership in natural resources applied research and support for the sustainable forest products industry make the college an ideal leader for a New York State coalition that includes CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, Central New York Technology Development Organization, Manufacturers Association of Central New York, New York Academy of Science, N.Y. State Department of Labor, NYSERDA, Onondaga County Workforce Development Board, Partners for Education & Business, RadTech International North America, Rapid Cure Technologies Inc. and The Manufacturing Institute.
Murphy, who said ESF's training efforts could include new post-baccalaureate certificate programs, noted the grant to ESF was the only one generated by the Department of Labor program to be awarded within New York state.
"SUNY-ESF was immeasurably aided in this competitive federal effort by our dedicated elected leaders and advocates in Washington," he said.
The U.S. Department of Labor's H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant Program is designed to help train and educate U.S. workers so they can find jobs in the sustainable materials and manufacturing industry where employers are using H-1B visas to hire foreign workers. The technical skills training program was authorized under the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998. The program is financed by a user fee paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B non-immigrant visa program.
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