College Wins More Than $3.4 Million in NYS Workforce Development Grants

Student working in biology lab

Tompkins Cortland Community College has been awarded more than $3.4 million in New York State Workforce Development Initiative grants. A SUNY 2020 Grant of $3.12 million will support an upgrade to the College’s STEM laboratory space on the Dryden campus. The College has also received a $289,500 SUNY Next Generation Job Linkage grant to hire faculty and expand the curriculum in the area of applied science and technology. Combined the two grants will allow the College to create new offerings, including micro-credentials, in areas of demand locally. The grants will allow for a better learning experience for students while also allowing the College to provide greater support to local business partners. Renovation work, starting with hiring an architect, will begin during the spring semester.

“I want to thank SUNY and New York State for showing a strong commitment to workforce development and infrastructure needs in our region and across the state,” said Tompkins Cortland Community College Provost and Administrator in Charge Paul Reifenheiser. “SUNY’s support will help us build curriculum to provide vitally needed job training for hundreds of students each year and renovate our lab spaces to allow us to meet the needs of local employers and partners in state-of-the-art facilities. With these grants we can provide greater support for students and address our community needs.” 

The SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program was first announced in 2011 with a goal of spurring economic growth across the State while strengthening the academic programs of New York’s public universities and colleges. Tompkins Cortland’s award is part of the most recent round of 2020 Challenge Grant Awards, which were made as part of the State’s recent Workforce Development Initiative (WDI). The money will be used for infrastructure upgrades, especially to lab spaces devoted to electrical engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, construction technology, and applied sciences.

The $289,500 Jobs Linkage grant will allow for the expansion of academic offerings in high-need workforce training programs, creating new options in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and civil engineering. 

Carrie Whitmore, director of continuing education and workforce development, said the grants will allow the College to hire faculty and design curriculum in consultation with local business partners. “The best way to address the needs of local employers is to work closely with them from the start, and that’s what we are doing. These grants will allow for the creation of new micro-credentials that will allow our students to gain needed skills more quickly than a traditional associate’s degree program, but also give students an entry point if they want to pursue an associate’s degree later,” said Whitmore. 

The new offerings will be within the Applied Sciences and Technology major. Within the focus of advanced manufacturing, an Electrical Engineering Technology track will be created, along with micro-credentials in Introduction to Programmable Electronics, Electrical Support for Manufacturing, and Electrical Machine Technician. Within civil engineering, a Civil Engineering Technology Track and micro-credentials in Concrete Mixing and Testing, Public Works, and Geographic Information System (GIS). Within healthcare, the track will be for Lab Tech.

Overall, the College hopes to serve between 100 and 200 students annually with the new offerings.