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Workforce Development Partnerships Continue to Expand

3 National Grid gas workers talk in front of a company utility truck.

Sometimes, 12 weeks can change your life, and SUNY’s growing workforce development efforts are showing us how all across the state. A new 12-week, 90-hour Natural Gas Technician certification program at Hudson Valley Community College is set out to do just that for students in the capital region of New York. The new program will be offered this fall through HVCC’s Workforce Development Institute and will teach students basic skills, work methods and safety practices used in gas construction, maintenance and customer service. Once the students complete, they will be first in line for jobs with National Grid in New York’s natural gas industry.

This program is built off the success of another similar program on Long Island, where a workforce development partnership was established between SUNY and National Grid at Farmingdale State College. The first class of students at Farmingdale just completed the National Gas Technician Certificate Program at FSC and were able to gain employment with National Grid right after graduating. Now, that type of opportunity is expanding upstate to Hudson Valley Community College.

Natural gas is big in New York State. From residential to commercial and even electric power generation, natural gas is used in large numbers with nearly 5 million customers throughout New York State. More than half of the households in New York use natural gas to heat their homes. In fact, natural gas is the lead heating fuel used throughout the northeast.

As we continue to improve our infrastructure and see changing demographics and weather patterns, employers and suppliers need to be ready to meet the changing needs of our state. Programs like the Natural Gas Technician Certificate Program are set to do just that while also adding new workers to the economy of New York.

Building the workforce of tomorrow

“This kind of public-private partnership, which serves industry as well as those seeking employment, is one of the things community colleges do best,” said President Drew Matonak. “Hudson Valley is proud to work alongside National Grid to introduce this new career training partnership.”

The best part about this partnership is that it continues the growth of HVCC’s Workforce Development Institute. Through an open registration model, the WDI develops and teaches customized, client-specific training programs for staff and management with industry-specific courses. It’s a dual benefit model — students get the training they need for employment, and businesses have well-trained, ready to work employees available to fill their needs for service and growth.

Just like SUNY’s efforts to bring applied learning experiences to all students, the WDI at HVCC is a critical component to strengthening the economic output throughout New York State and staying ahead of the competition in other locations.

One of the key components of the SUNY experience is Success, which is gained when students complete and find stable employment. A continued growth of public-private partnerships that get students job-ready in sectors that need them is a perfect way to offer more students education and job training to be successful in today’s economy. When students and employers stay ahead of the changing business curve, everyone wins.

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    Written by Taras Kufel

    Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.

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