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Upstate NY Workers Will Be Provided Training And Resources To Meet Growing Industry Demand for Technical Skills And New Jobs

Senator Says Following Economic Impact of COVID-19, Providing Employment and Training Services Is Essential to Regions’ Recovery

Schumer: Fed Funding Will Help Revitalize Hard Hit Western NY & Southern Tier Manufacturing Sector

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced $1,484,675 in federal funding for SUNY Alfred State College of Technology through the U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission. Schumer said the grant will be used to enhance workforce development initiatives to meet training needs like specialized welding skills for two major industrial employers in the region: Alstom and Ljungström. The project stands to impact five upstate counties, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Steuben, Schuyler, and Chemung, and is expected to support an estimated 184 to 196 total jobs in the region over a 3-year period. The project is led by SUNY Alfred State College of Technology, working in partnership with industry leaders and two workforce developers, CSS Workforce NY and CA Workforce Development.

“This is great news for SUNY Alfred State, and importantly for workers across the Southern Tier and Western NY. This federal investment will help support workforce development and skilled manufacturing training for hundreds of new jobs in the transportation and energy sectors,” said Senator Schumer. “I will continue to fight tooth and nail to make sure our workers have the skills and support they need to secure high-quality, good-paying jobs and further making upstate New York a top location for employers to invest and create new jobs.”

“Alfred State College is proud to partner with our local workforce development agencies and industry leaders to provide skilled manufacturing training and workforce development in the Southern Tier and Western NY region,” said Dr. John Anderson, Officer-in-Charge at Alfred State College. He added, “We would also like to thank Senator Schumer for his continued support of Alfred State College, our programs, and our students. He continues to help us bring opportunities to educate and build a strong, career-ready workforce in the region. We look forward to this partnership and the long-term positive impact it will have on our area’s workforce and industry. “  

“As a leading American rail manufacturing company, we are committed to developing the skilled workforce required to deliver American-made solutions for our customers,” said Scott Sherin, Vice President, Alstom Americas. “We are proud to partner with SUNY Alfred State College of Technology to advance workforce development initiatives in the region and meet the demand for skilled manufacturing workers. We greatly appreciate Senator Schumer’s strong support for Alfred State’s proposal to support training in the latest welding technologies that will be introduced at Alstom’s new stainless-steel rail car body shell manufacturing facility being built in Hornell.”

“This is a great opportunity for LJUNGSTRÖM to be a partner with SUNY Alfred State and the Appalachian Regional Commission in order to support our regional growth into the renewable energy market,” said Matt Ferris, Managing Director, LJUNGSTRÖM USA. “Thank you to Senator Schumer as this grant will help provide LJUNGSTRÖM with the training and skills needed to give our workforce the appropriate expertise at our Wellsville, New York facility.”

Schumer explained the counties in the project area are part of the federally-designated Appalachian region, and have faced high levels of poverty, low job growth, and health disparities. Allegany County in particular is designated as an at-risk county, the only one across all of New York’s Appalachian region. Schumer said the project would help grow the region’s economy and create new opportunities for workers through education, training, and credentialing that will connect of new employees and displaced workers with regional employers seeking to grow.

The funding was authorized through the Workforce Opportunity and Innovation Act. WORC grants, through the U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission, allow recipients to help their communities diversify their local economies by developing a skilled workforce and providing equitable access to marginalized communities. WORC grants also aim to address the impacts of economic transition on communities previously reliant on energy-related employment. 

A copy of Schumer’s letter of support sent last month appears below:

Dear Secretary Walsh and Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin,

I write to express my strong support for the proposal submitted by SUNY Alfred State College of Technology in partnership with Alstom and Ljungström to the U.S. Department of Labor and Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) Initiative. This funding is integral to ongoing workforce development initiatives in the region, including fulfilling the skilled manufacturing training needs of two major industries in a critically underserved area of Western New York and across the Southern Tier region.

The unprecedented hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the recent closure of prominent local manufacturing plants like the Siemens Dresser-Rand facility, have made the need for investment in the region’s manufacturers and workers economic recovery. The proposed project will expand economic opportunity in several of New York’s most distressed areas in the ARC region, including Cattaraugus, Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, and Allegany counties. This initiative would build on SUNY Alfred’s existing technical curriculum to develop specialized welding training and enhance workforce education for meeting the need of an expected 180+ new jobs in the area over a three-year period.

The project’s two industry partners, Alstom and Ljungström, both anticipate significant industry job growth following the awarding of large contracts that will require expansion of their current workforce capabilities. Alstom is one of the world’s leading transportation manufacturers. Earlier this year, Alstom was awarded a large contract to construct the steel carbody shell of passenger rail cars for the Chicago Metra Commuter Rail system. This groundbreaking project would make Alstom’s Hornell operations one of only two stainless steel rail carbody manufacturers in the U.S. and foster tens of millions of dollars in facility investment in Steuben County. Similarly, Ljungström, a developer of energy recovery equipment for thermal power plants, recently began a transition from a coal-impacted industry to clean energy focusing on renewable offshore wind and CO2 carbon capture machinery. Ljungström is in the final bidding stages for multiple construction contracts to sustain these efforts, and like Alstom, requires significant enhanced training for new and existing workers to ensure the completion of these contracts.

In addition to industry partners, SUNY Alfred has also worked with CSS Workforce NY and CA Workforce Development to aide career planning and help identify community resources for workforce needs like child care, transportation, housing, and addiction or recovery issues. This vast coalition of partners from higher education, the private sector, and government speaks to the tremendous value this project holds for revitalization and economic growth in this struggling area of Upstate NY. I applaud SUNY Alfred in the role they continue to play in the advancement of industry-driven technical education and the economic development of the Southern Tier and hope its application for funding is met with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my grants coordinator in our Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.