A consortium of 29 SUNY community colleges is aiming to train and prepare 6,000 Upstate New Yorkers for available jobs in one of the fastest growing economic sectors - health care.
The consortium, which includes Jamestown Community College, recently applied for a $23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program, which also received a $14 million grant for advanced manufacturing last fall.
On Wednesday, Sen. Charles Schumer conducted a press conference to announce his support of SUNY's application, indicating that SUNY has already proved itself a worthy candidate.
"It's clear SUNY, having won one grant already, has what it takes to create jobs in Upstate New York," said Schumer. "Upstate New York's medical field is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, meaning there are more and more nursing, EMT, lab technician and other positions that will need to be filled in coming years. At the same time, there are too many New Yorkers, including veterans, that are out of a job. This SUNY initiative will be a powerful antidote for that, and I'm putting my full support behind this application."
The consortium has created the SUNY Healthcare Education & Leadership Plan for Success initiative to focus on strengthening alignment between SUNY and its health care partners on a local, regional and statewide level to better help communities adjust to the growing health care field. Schumer said the initiative will focus on four primary high-demand career program areas, including: nursing, health care information, emergency medical services and health care technology technicians.
According to a March 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the health care sector of the economy is outpacing the growth realized in 2011, accounting for one out of every five jobs created this year. Nationally, approximately 296,000 jobs were added in the health care sector in 2011, 6 percent of which were in New York state. Based on these statistics, the bureau predicted the registered nurse workforce would see a 26 percent increase by the year 2020.
In Western New York, this equates to the creation of 460 registered nurse positions, 75 medical and clinical lab tech positions and 30 emergency medical tech and paramedic positions. A press release from Schumer's office also indicated Western New York is home to 678 workers eligible for TAA assistance and 3,479 unemployed veterans. Schumer said that, while all students are eligible to participate, veterans and TAA eligible workers will be given priority in this program.
"This grant to the SUNY consortium will address the glaring need for more well-trained health care professionals in Upstate New York, while putting current students, dislocated workers and veterans on a path to employment. SUNY is a national leader in higher education, and I will fight tooth and nail to get them this grant and help keep them at the front of the pack for years to come," said Schumer.
In addition to JCC, other SUNY colleges included in the consortium are: Adirondack, Broome, Cayuga, Clinton, Columbia-Greene, Corning, Dutchess, Erie, Finger Lakes, Fulton-Montgomery, Genesee, Herkimer County, Hudson Valley, Jefferson, Mohawk Valley, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara County, North Country, Onondaga, Orange County, Rockland, Schenectady County, Suffolk County, Sullivan County, Tompkins Cortland, Ulster County and Westchester.