In late February, State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and New York State Department of Labor Acting Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced Erie Community College submitted one of eight projects involving 15 SUNY community colleges that will receive a portion of $1 million (provided by the 2015-16 state budget). The funding will support college career centers, which utilize collaborations with local and regional workforce partners to link students and community members with enhanced career services and employment opportunities.
ECC's award will amount to $100,000, funding ECC President Jack Quinn said will provide a big boost for students at the three-campus college.
"This is tremendous news for our college and staff that worked so hard to be considered for these funds," he said. "We pride ourselves on being a career-focused college for students, so this will certainly help us grow more formidable in this focus."
Funding will allow ECC to establish an integrated career experiences model program to help students transition from college to career, while also addressing the growing regional demand for highly skilled employees. ECC and the State Department of Labor will align regional resources for students and create meaningful internships and career opportunities in areas experiencing high job growth.
"SUNY community colleges have a rich history of providing quality workforce programs and job training that reflect demand, successfully preparing our graduates to meet the needs of New York's employers for decades," Zimpher said. "As the result of state investment in SUNY, we have had the opportunity to leverage our partnership with the Department of Labor and establish career centers that will not only benefit our students, but answer critical workforce needs in communities across the state.
"Congratulations to all of the collaborations receiving funds as a result of this innovative program."
Over the years, ECC has proven itself as a place to train for a long-term career, or retrain for a new career - whether through its One-Stop Center, on-campus career resource centers, one-year certificate programs or two-year associate degree program.
Western New York's current workforce boasts an estimated 8.4 million credit and noncredit hours of ECC training, and will soon boast more with students headed for opportunities in Buffalo's developing medical, nanotech and green technology industries.
More than 50,000 identified alumni live, work and hire ECC graduates based on their knowledge of the college's career-focused curriculum, and the college continues to have an estimated $668 million annual impact on the region's economy.
"The New York State Department of Labor is committed to helping job seekers find the employment they're looking for, and connecting workers to job training and career center services is an important component of that mission," Reardon said. "We must prepare workers not only for the jobs that are available today, but also for the jobs that will become available in the future.
"I join Chancellor Zimpher in congratulating all of our partners who will be receiving funds and I look forward to the results we'll achieve together."
The eight projects involving 15 SUNY community colleges and their regional partners will launch later in 2016.
Since 1946, ECC has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state's SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC's faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership.