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New program on indoor air sees high-tech 'edge' for CNY

Manufacturers group unites area colleges to meet a growing high-tech need


Thursday, December 16, 2004 By Nancy Buczek Staff writer

The Manufacturers Association of Central New York is launching a new certificate of advanced study in the spring that should appeal to architects, engineers, developers and anyone else interested in learning about indoor environmental quality issues, said officials involved in developing the program.

"I think by getting this certificate, they get a technical edge that should make them more marketable as the demand for high-performance buildings and services increases," said Cornelius "Neil" Murphy Jr., president of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. "I think it also gives our local companies an edge because they get an infusion of this technology in their local work force. It gives them an edge down the road on marketing this technology."

The certificate of advanced study in indoor environmental quality is the second of four programs MACNY developed with the help of ESF officials. An advanced engineering tools program began in the fall. The indoor environmental quality program is slated to begin in January. Bioprocess engineering is scheduled to start in late spring, and a renewable energy, design and construction program is anticipated to begin in fall 2005.

MACNY received a $1.2 million federal grant in February to educate local workers for high-skill jobs. The Department of Labor's goal in awarding the grant is to train American workers for jobs for which U.S. companies may import workers because of a lack of certain types of high-tech skills. The federal government issues what are calledh1B visas to foreign workers who are hired by American companies because the skills needed can't be found locally.

To develop the four-certificate curriculums, ESF officials reached out to its neighbors: Le Moyne College, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse University, the New York Indoor Environmental Quality Center as well as local busi- nesses to help design and offer the four programs. Each program is closely aligned with the types of business and industry that local economic development agencies have identified as strengths or opportunities for Central New York.

On Friday, there will be an informational breakfast meeting at MACNY about the indoor environmental certificate. Karen DeJarnette, MACNY's training and corporate development director, said the group is hoping to enroll 20 students for the spring semester. People can also enroll in the fall for the five-course, 15-credit graduate level program, DeJarnette said.

To qualify for the program, students should have a bachelor's degree in engineering, science or architecture. People with experience in those fields but no formal degree can still apply and be considered for admission by the certificate program academic adviser, DeJarnette said.

SU, which is the lead institution for the certificate, plans to offer classes Thursday evenings with some classes, lab work and guest speakers on the weekends.

SU and ESF professors will teach the classes. Upon successful completion of the program, MACNY will award the certificate, which costs $6,500.

SU plans to pursue licensing the program with the state as a certificate of advanced study, said Eric Spina, dean of SU's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. With state approval, SU could then award the certificate.

"We hope that this is essentially a beacon that we can use to attract more students to the region and individuals to local companies who are looking to hire," Spina said.

© 2004 The Post-Standard.

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