Friday, August 21, 2015

What Do Dogs Do When They Catch the Car?

 The Mohawk Valley region did it – the future just got here really quick!  With the announcements of GE as the major tenant in the Quad-C and AMS working with New York State to build a chip fab, real jobs with real wages will come in quickly over the next three years.  If it’s anything like similar ventures (i.e., Global Foundries in Malta), those jobs will continue to come for a decade or more as things expand and accelerate.

With easily more than half of the projected jobs predicted to require less than a bachelor’s degree, many eyes are turning to MVCC for ensuring a trained workforce.  We embraced the challenge at our fall opening event for faculty and staff as we considered the multitude of ways in which we’re ready to rise to the challenges of a regional economic transformation.

And there is still time for people in the community to start working toward new nano careers right away. Our fall classes start Aug. 26, and we offer many opportunities to start right away on the degree, certificate, and training programs that will open doors to new opportunities.

We have the necessary programs – semiconductor and mechatronics programs to support advanced manufacturing; electrical service technology to support the complex machine tools used in the nanotechnology industry; HVAC to support the intense airflow environment of clean rooms; carpentry/masonry and welding to support the billions of dollars fueling the coming construction boom.

And we’ve been working hard to do our part in preparing the community over the past few years – shifting our collective view from a fixed mindset of scarcity to a growth mindset of abundance!  A few of our efforts we’ve pursued to prepare for this include:

  • Set nanotechnology education as the college’s number one strategic enrollment priority;
  • Launched Mechatronics Certificate (developed in direct partnership with SUNY and industry partners); hired a new, full-time mechatronics faculty position
  • Created and refined Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology associate’s degree (developed and updated specifically to cater to the needs of chip fab employers)
  • Updated curricula of Electrical Engineering Technology, Electrical Service Technician, and Engineering Science degrees to keep pace with developments in nanotechnology
  • Launched Nano Info Sessions to educate the public about careers and education options
  • Joined the MIT FABLab Network; opens the region’s first collegiate FABLab
  • Equipped a new Mechatronics lab and Hydraulics lab to train students on the kinds of equipment that will be used in advanced manufacturing, supported by $689K TAACCCT grant
  • Partnered with Oneida County Workforce to offer scholarships for students entering nano programs
  • Partnered with Workforce Investment Board to arrange student tours of nanotechnology facilities
  • Brought nano recruiters and industry experts to campus to interact with students
  • Launched Cybersecurity certificate and degree programs, to meet the evolving IT needs of the nano industry
  • Expanded non-credit offerings to meet nano industry infrastructural needs, like heavy equipment operator training, truck driving training, forklift operator training, etc.
  • Planning for expansion and relocation of carpentry/masonry program (pending approval) to better meet the construction needs of the industry
  • Acquired two new CNC machines capable of 5-axis and 3-axis machining, giving students hands-on experience with machines used in advanced manufacturing
  • Arrange and takes part in speaking opportunities throughout the county to engage youth in the growing Nano and STEM fields
  • Created Nano and STEM career camps for youth
  • Launched the Thincubator and Innovation Hotspot to assist new entrepreneurs in the region to keep pace with the market’s growth
So we’re ready.  And I can’t help but think of what dogs might do when they catch a car they’ve been chasing for a long time, they celebrate; catch their breath; and buckle up for the ride!

If you have any comments or questions, you can contact me directly at presblog@mvcc.edu.