It can be said that a staple of the 21st century is the change in concern for public safety and security. Citizens, organizations, and governments now all put so much effort into ensuring that public and private spaces are welcoming and safe for all who use them. In an effort to continue to combat these concerns, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that Farmingdale State College will be receiving $6.6 million in NYSUNY 2020 funding to establish the Infrastructure, Transportation and Security Center. This initiative will create new academic programs at the graduate and undergraduate level, and will allow students to train with state-of-the-art technology to help improve security systems for regional infrastructure and transportation systems.
“As terrorism continues to threaten our way of life, we must do all we can to stay vigilant and strengthen our defenses,” Governor Cuomo said in the press release. “The new Infrastructure, Transportation and Security Center will be key in ensuring that the security experts of tomorrow are prepared with the best possible training and resources needed to keep us safe.”
In addition to the $6.6 million, Stony Brook University and Nassau Community College will partner with the Infrastructure, Transportation, and Security Center to contribute matching funds to the program, making this project a collaborative effort.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul commented that since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, security planning has become a top priority in regards to building and maintaining bridges, tunnels, trains, and airports.
“A secure and reliable transportation network in New York City is critical to economic growth both in the State and across the country,” said Hochul. “The Center establishes New York State and Farmingdale State College as leaders in how we meet the challenges of fighting terrorism and today’s ‘new normal.’”
Over the next five years, Farmingdale will be hiring 5 new faculty members to build the groundwork of the new curriculum. The construction and maintenance of the new building will also create new jobs, taking the impact well outside the classroom right from the start.
The announcement last week sparked national buzz, with the hope of attracting students from all over the country to take up an interest in such a specialized program. Currently, Farmingdale State College is the only SUNY school offering degrees in security systems and aviation administration. The Center will offer new programs in computer security technology and airport and rail security management, joining the architecture and construction management, and aviation administration programs already offered at the school.
So what does this mean for SUNY students? These new specialized academic programs are one of a kind in the country, leaving students with a highly competitive and desired degree. The Center is aimed at preparing students to be highly skilled and “job ready” when they enter the workforce. The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council will collaborate with the Center to create job pathways, which may help those in the program begin a career following graduation. According to U.S. News and World Report, by 2020 the largest number of job openings will exist in fields including computer operations, management occupations, and engineering.
Farmingdale State College President W. Hubert Keen expressed his excitement of the opportunities this new Center will allow the college to explore. “Creating an Infrastructure, Transportation and Security Center (ITSC) through the SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant provides an exceptional opportunity for our faculty and students to be on the front line of protecting our economic and national security,” Keen said.
NYSUNY 2020, which is helping to fund ITSC, is an initiative set forth by the partnership of the State University of New York and the Office of the Governor to help spark economic growth in the state through the strengthening of education programs. The first phase of NYSUNY 2020 awarded SUNY University Centers – University at Albany, University at Buffalo, Binghamton University, and Stony Brook University – $140 million to support research initiatives and educational development. NYSUNY 2020 also aims to incrementally hire more staff and faculty, introduce more than 100 new degree programs, and improve student services offerings.
“NYSUNY2020 continues to support innovation, learning, and job training for our students while strengthening the economic impact that our campuses have in communities throughout the state,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “The ITSC will not only enhance the educational experience for our students and faculty, but also support SUNY’s contribution to a safe, secure, and sustainable infrastructure for New York.”
The ITSC is another great achievement put forth through NYSUNY 2020. By the time of its completion, the new Center’s efforts and research will prove beneficial for students, the state, and the country.
Julia is a student assistant in the SUNY Office of New Media. She is an undergraduate student at the University at Albany pursuing a double major in Communications and Business Administration with a concentration in marketing.