SCHUMER LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO SECURE FEDERAL FUNDS TO BUILD UTICA COLLEGE’S STATE-OF-THE-ART CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT TRAINING CENTER; FACILITY WILL EQUIP STUDENTS WITH SKILLS NEEDED FOR IN DEMAND JOBS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, BUT SENATOR SAYS PROJECT NEEDS FED INVESTMENT TO PLUG FUNDING GAP
Since 2008, Utica College’s Construction Management Major Has Placed 100% Of Its Students In Jobs Before Graduation & Expects To Train Over 250 Students In The Next Decade, But Program Has Outgrown Its Outdated Facility; College Has Secured Private & State Dollars For A New 15,000 Sq. Ft. Training Center
With Additional Funding Needed To Make Project A Reality, Utica College Has Applied To The Federal Economic Development Administration To Fill The Gap; Funding Will Be Used To Equip Building With Mock Construction Space, Materials Testing Equipment & Computer Labs Designed With Industry-Standard Software
Schumer And Gillibrand: Time To Put Cash On The Nail To Build UC’s Construction Management Training Center
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand today launched a full-court push to secure a critical federal investment for Utica College to build a new, state-of-the-art training center for its growing construction management major. As one of Utica’s College’s fastest growing degree programs, the Construction Management program is training the next generation of workers to meet a growing need in the construction industry both locally and nationally. However, since the program has outgrown its facilities, Utica College has crafted plans to build a new, technologically-advanced facility on its campus in Utica. While the college has raised $2.8 million in private and state funds, the total project is expected to cost $4.1 million. With the help of Schumer and Gillibrand, the college has applied to the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fill the funding gap.
“With the supply of construction industry jobs expected to grow over the next several years, Utica College’s Construction Management program aims to meet that demand by equipping students with the tools they need to be successful in the future. But with enrollment in the program expected rapidly grow, Utica College needs additional space and upgraded technology to properly train students,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I am asking the Economic Development Administration to ‘put cash on the nail’ and approve this investment so Utica College’s Construction Management Training Center can become a reality.”
“This critical federal investment will give Utica College the tools necessary to grow and strengthen its successful program. With enrollment on the rise and increased demand, this program will need expanded, upgraded space to train and equip students throughout the region,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Investing in Utica College’s Construction Management Training Center will create opportunities for more New Yorkers to gain invaluable experience and be properly equipped for success in a 21st century economy.”
The Construction Management program, which offers a Bachelor of Science, has become one of the most successful and fastest growing programs at Utica College, preparing students for careers in a dynamic industry with an increasing need for trained professionals at every level and an average starting salary of $58,000 nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 1.6 million new jobs in the construction industry by 2022 – a need Utica College aims to help meet. The program, which is certified by the American Council of Construction Education (ACCE), has seen substantial growth in enrollment since its re-launch in 2007. Currently graduating 12-15 students annually with a 100 percent placement rate upon graduation, the college expects to grow the program to 25 graduates per year over the next three to nine years. By 2019, the college expects to see a total enrollment of more than 100 students and anticipates graduating 220-250 students over the next decade – many of which will make the Mohawk Valley their home. However, despite the program’s recent success, it has outgrown its current antiquated facilities and needs much more instructional space and upgraded technologies to provide the level of career preparation that both students and future employers expect.
In response to this growth, the college plans to construct a 15,000 square-foot, two-story academic building to house the Construction Management program. The facility will be equipped with a new materials laboratory on the ground floor that will offer: open-bay design with overhead door, materials testing equipment, workspace for mock construction projects, and instructional support technology. The second floor will include two new computer laboratories with high-powered workstations configured for industry-standard Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. It will also include a multi-use auditorium, high-tech smart classrooms and a design that will allow for future expansion. Schumer and Gillibrand said the new facility will positively affect workforce development by helping Utica College graduate well-prepared, versatile construction management professionals who will increase the value of the Mohawk Valley’s human capital and add to its vitality and growth.
Schumer and Gillibrand explained the federal investment from EDA will provide Utica College with the final funding source to make its cutting-edge Construction Management Training Center a reality. To date, the college has raised $2.1 million from gifts and pledges, including a $1 million donation from alumnus Gary Thurston (class of 1968) and secured a $700,000 grant from New York State through the Mohawk Valley’s Regional Economic Development Council. With the total price tag at $4.1million, Schumer and Gillibrand worked with college officials to close the gap by identifying the EDA’s Public Works & Economic Adjustment Assistance grant program as a key funding source.
Laura Casamento, President, Utica College: “We are grateful that Senator Schumer strongly supports our application to the Economic Development Administration seeking funding for a new building to house our Construction Management program. With a 100% career placement rate after graduation, Construction Management is one of the College’s fastest-growing majors, and this new facility will provide our students with the resources and technologies they need to excel in an industry that is vital to the economic revitalization of our region and our state.”
Gary Thurston ’68, Chairman / CEO, Hayner-Hoyt Corporation, Lead Donor: “Utica’s Construction Management program has already got a lot of things going for it. But when prospective students come to campus and see this new, high-quality facility, it will just enhance the College’s ability to recruit and retain the kind of promising young professionals the industry needs.”
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri: “I commend Senator Schumer for his leadership and efforts in bringing a state-of-the-art training center to Utica College for its growing construction management major. This investment would be a catalyst for economic development and attract young and talented students interested in construction management into our community. I fully support this initiative and thank Senator Schumer for continuously advocating for Utica,”
Schumer and Gillibrand said Utica College enrolls a diverse population of 5,000 students from 45 different states and 39 different countries. The Senators added the college has been focused on being responsive to workforce demands by developing relevant, needs-driven academic programs. Since 1998, it has introduced more than 40 academic programs; several address emerging disciplines (cybersecurity, economic crime) and while others address areas of high-need (nursing, health professions, and construction management). Utica College currently offers 16 of the top 20 most in-demand degree programs.
The Economic Development Administration is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides grants and technical assistance to communities in order to generate new employment, help retain existing jobs and stimulate growth. Specifically, the EDA’s Public Works & Economic Adjustment Assistance grant program helps distressed communities revitalize, expand, and upgrade their physical infrastructure in order to attract new industry; encourage business expansion; diversify local economies; and generate or retain long-term, private-sector jobs, and investment.
A copy of Schumer and Gillibrand’s letter to the EDA appears below:
Dear Mr. Alvord,
I write in support of the application submitted by Utica College (College) for funding from the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance program through the Economic Development Administration. This funding will be used to build a new academic building that will house the College’s four-year Construction Management program.
Founded in 1946, Utica College enrolls a diverse population of 5,000 students from 45 different states and 39 different countries. The Construction Management program is one of the 38 undergraduate majors offered by the College, preparing students with a combination of skills in both technical construction and management. Providing this unique educational background, the program has consistently had a 100 percent job placement rate for participating students since 2008, all of whom secured their jobs before even graduating from the program.
The requested funding will be used to construct a 15,000 square foot, two-story academic building to house the Utica College Construction Management program, which will include student classrooms and auditoriums, faculty offices, laboratories equipped with the state-of-the-art technologies, and other instructional spaces. The building will also feature video conferencing capabilities, allowing the program to expand beyond the classroom and deliver educational training online. With this funding, Utica College will be able to prepare more students for productive careers in the construction industry, increasing the human capital and vitality of the greater Central New York region.
I ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have questions or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.
Charles E. Schumer