Skip to content


30 SUNY Community Colleges Including North Country Community College Are Applying For $15 Million In Funding From Fed Dept. of Labor to Establish System-Wide Program To Train Veterans & Those Who Have Been Laid Off In Electrical, Mechanical, Computer and Industrial Engineering Program Would Help Many Who Are Out Of Work Get Jobs At Local Partner Companies Agri-Mark McCadam Cheese, International Paper & Trudeau Institute

Schumer Urges Secretary of Labor to Choose SUNY & Bring P

Today, at the North Elba Town House in Saranac Lake, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched his push to secure federal funding to establish a program at North Country Community College (NCCC) that would retrain local veterans and unemployed persons in the growing field of mechatronics. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that incorporates engineering, mechanics, electronics, and other technical work. According to SUNY, the field of mechatronics is a rapidly growing industry and is expected to create over 800 jobs in the North Country region alone between 2010 and 2020. North Country Community College is one of 30 SUNY community colleges across New York State that have joined together to pursue funding from the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program, which would provide up to $15 million in funding to establish a systemwide program that would train veterans and those who have been laid off in electrical, mechanical, computer and industrial engineering. Schumer urged the U.S. Secretary of Labor to carefully consider and approve SUNY's application and bring this promising initiative to the North Country, which would allow NCCC to partner with companies like AgriMark McCadam Cheese, International Paper and the Trudeau Institute to help its students find local, skilled and wellpaying jobs. Schumer said that this kind of investment in the North Country would be a boon for local businesses and area residents who need these technical skills for today's workforce.


"This federal funding would be a winwinwin for our SUNY schools, the local businesses looking to hire workers in the growing field of mechatronics and our veterans, unemployed, and adult learners who are looking to break into a highlyskilled, innovative and wellpaying field," said Schumer. "That is why I am pushing the U.S. Department of Labor to carefully consider and approve SUNY's application. I feel strongly that this program would have a tremendous impact on Essex County and the entire North Country economy, and I have already called the Secretary of Labor to urge him to select SUNY to receive this transformative grant money. Employers around the region have made it clear that they are looking to hire people with advanced manufacturing backgrounds, but there are not enough people with the skills to fit the bill. That is why we need to get this program up and running, because there are many people out of work right here in the North Country who would jump at the opportunity to get the skills they need to fill some of these open positions."


Schumer explained that NCCC is one of the 30 SUNY schools across New York State that have joined together to submit a consortium application for $15 million from the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. This TAACCCT program funding would be used to establish a systemwide program that would train veterans and those who have been laid off in the field of mechatronics, which incorporates electrical, mechanical, computer and industrial engineering. Schumer explained that NCCC and these other SUNY schools would then be able to train over 1,200 eligible Upstate New York workers in two year programs to prepare them for careers in mechatronics and advanced manufacturing. NCC would stand to receive $517,345 of its own funds for program operations. Schumer noted that he has already called Labor Secretary Tom Perez to weigh in on behalf of SUNY's application.


According to SUNY, the field of mechatronics is a rapidly growing industry and there are nearly 13,000 mechatronics job openings projected to be created across all of New York State between 2010 and 2020. Within this 10year time period, over 800 mechatronics jobs are expected to be created in the North Country region alone. Schumer said that the field is booming and will greatly help North Country residents like those in Essex County looking to work in the field of advanced manufacturing. This retraining program is targeted towards veterans, the longterm unemployed and other adult learners.


If this funding were awarded, NCCC and 30 other SUNY schools would be able to partner with the over 70 employers in the advanced manufacturing industry that are looking to hire workers in this highlyskilled career field. Schumer explained that SUNY has lined up 70 employers from around New York State that will act as local business partners. These local business partners are looking to expand their workforces and have expressed a need to hire employees with the mechatronics skills and certifications that will be provided in this program. The employers that NCCC will be partnering with include AgriMark McAdam Cheese in Chateaugay, International Paper in Ticonderoga, and the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake. Many of the program's business partners, including the ones partnering with NCCC, have indicated a strong need for training mechatronic technicians who are competent, certified, and qualified to work with the complex and extremely expensive machines that populate the modern manufacturing environment. Schumer said that this is an exciting opportunity for veterans, currently unemployed persons, and other adult learners who are looking to break into this field now.


Schumer noted that SUNY community colleges have been successful before in receiving this grant. Back in 2012, Schumer worked with 30 community colleges on developing a program called the Training and Education in Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Educational Pathways Project, which eventually received $14.6 million in funding through the TAACCCT program. The TEAM Project has established permanent worker training programs at the 30 community colleges who were part of the consortium for eligible upstate New Yorkers in growing fields like nanotechnology, biosciences, and advanced manufacturing. North Country Community College, however, was not part of the consortium in 2012.


AgriMark McCadam Cheese Company is the leading dairy farmer cooperative in the Northeast and manufactures more than 20 different cheeses. Also in the AgriMark family is awardwinning Cabot Creamery Cooperative of Vermont. Together, McCadam and Cabot represent 1,200 farmfamilies in America's Northeast. International Paper is a global leader in packaging and paper industry with manufacturing operations in across the U.S. and the world. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging and uncoated paper and its net sales for 2013 were approximately $29 billion. The Trudeau Institute is a an independent, nonprofit, biomedical research center that focuses its research on immune responses to major infectious diseases, such as influenza and tuberculosis, and on the role of the immune system in cancer, autoimmunity, and aging. Trudeau was originally founded in 1884 as a tuberculosis treatment and research facility and is now home to eight research teams, which all study diverse aspects of infection and immunity.


Schumer was joined by Bill Chapin, VP for Administration, North County Community College; Maureen Sayles, Assistant Dean for Grants and Funded Programs, NCCC; Donna Wadsworth of International Paper; Ron Goldfarb of the Trudeau Institute; Tom Herbick, AgriMark / McCadam Cheese; Randy Douglas, Chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors; Robi Politi Supervisor of Town of North Elba; Clyde Rabideau, Mayor of the Village of Saranac Lake; James McKenna, CEO of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. 


According to SUNY, although many colleges have launched successful retraining efforts in partnership with their local employers, New York State continues to lack a seamless educational pathway targeted at workers entering mechatronics. Employers are currently not able to meet their employment needs in the field of advanced manufacturing. Schumer said that this presents an immense opportunity for New York to train and then ultimately employ more workers in this highly desirable field. In response to this increasing demand with little supply, the state launched its New York Advancing Integrated Manufacturing Statewide ( NY AIMS) for Jobs Project with the goal of filling in the gaps where community colleges in New York could increase training programs for qualified technicians that have skills in the areas of repairing, pneumatics, hydraulics, electromechanical, automated systems maintenance, basic safety practices and scientific fundamentals.


These local business partner institutions would work handinhand with the SUNY schools, including NCCC, and over 70 businesses throughout the state in order to develop job training programs that build on successful programs of the past to meet the needs of today's industry leaders across the state. The other key groups working with SUNY in the consortium include the NY State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), NYS TAA Office, NY Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), State University of New York (SUNY) System Administration, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS), NYS Regional Economic Development Councils, and NYS Education Department. The SUNY schools, these groups and over 70 employers, including Global Foundries, Dupont, Beechnut Nutrition Company, Fryer Machine Systems, National Grid, BAE Systems Controls Inc., National Grid, Cummins, Inc., International Paper, Hubbell Galvanizing, and others will combine to form the SUNY  NY AIMS program dedicated to improving worker training.


A copy of Schumer's letter of support, written jointly with Senator Gillibrand, to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is included below:


Dear Secretary Perez,


We write in support of the application submitted by the State University of New York (SUNY) for funding from Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program (SGA/DFA PY 1310) through the U.S. Department of Labor.  This funding will help support the New York Advancing Integrated Manufacturing Statewide (NY AIMS) for Jobs project.


Community colleges play a critical role in delivering career and technical education programs that will prepare students for jobs in growing industries, like mechatronics.  Mechatronics, also known as integrated manufacturing and engineering, is an emerging field that combines electrical, mechanical, computer, and industrial engineering.  The NY AIMS for Jobs project proposes the development and implementation of mechatronics degree and certificate programs statewide. This project would expand upon a oneyear Mechatronics Certificate Program and implement it at 18 community colleges, with Erie Community College (ECC) as the lead applicant and fiscal agent for the Statewide Community College Consortium.


The requested funding will be used to implement the NY AIMS for Jobs project to support TAAeligible workers, veterans and other adults to qualify for and obtain jobs in mechatronics.  This TAACCCT grant will give the SUNY consortium the ability to work with stakeholders to design mechatronics programs, and further the capacity of SUNY colleges to offer training and education in mechatronics.  Partnering community colleges will jointly design and implement new, modularized curricula that build upon the oneyear certificate program, to ensure worker adaptability in rapidly expanding manufacturing sectors. The NY AIMS for Jobs project will also provide substantial professional development to faculty at all 30 SUNY community colleges to better build their capacity to implement these new curricula, incorporate competencybased education in new and existing programs, and collaborate with national partners to create nationally recognized credentials to ensure students have relevant skills for jobs in growing sectors. 


We ask that you please give this application your full consideration.  If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to our staff.




Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator