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Morrisville State College Receives $2 Million for Renewable Energy Training Center

U.S. Department of Labor Grant Will Address Workforce Needs
MORRISVILLE, N.Y.— Morrisville State College, recognized for its leadership in the development and application of “green” technology, has been awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create a Renewable Energy Training Center and associated programs that will serve as a workforce and economic development catalyst in Central Upstate New York.

The Department of Labor selected 69 grant recipients from 341 applicants across the nation under the President’s Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative. The initiative is designed to improve the ability of colleges to provide their regions’ workers with the skills needed to enter growing industries in their hometowns.

Alternative energy concepts combine two of Morrisville State College’s historical strengths: agriculture and technology. Several projects and initiatives, including a wind turbine, anaerobic methane digester and research on biodiesel feedstock, provide real-world learning laboratories to students in several programs of study and also serve as energy sources for the campus.

The Morrisville State College project creates a multi-county alliance of employers, training providers, economic development partners and K-12 schools to address the long-term and short-term skill needs of New York state’s high-growth, high-demand renewable energy sector, which the State Comptroller’s Office projects will be adding 43,000 jobs in the coming years.

“This funding is critically important to the Central New York region, and will allow the college to build on its existing expertise in agriculture and renewable energy,” Congressman John M. McHugh (N.Y.- Pierrepont Manor), said. “This type of investment in the technologies of the future is a commitment to the future of Central New York. I am very pleased that the Department of Labor selected Morrisville as a recipient of this grant, and am hopeful that Morrisville will continue to serve as a model for other such initiatives throughout the region and state.”

“I am grateful to Congressman McHugh and Senator Clinton for their ongoing support for this grant request. They have been very supportive of our renewable energy efforts from the beginning,” Dr. Ray Cross, Morrisville State College president, said. “By building a comprehensive coalition, I believe the Renewable Energy Training Center will serve as an important component in building a competitive renewable energies sector in New York state.”

Outreach efforts to the K-12 sector will raise awareness of renewable energy opportunities and careers as well as foundational math and science concepts needed to enter the field. Online and concurrent enrollment courses, where high school students can take renewable energy-focused courses from Morrisville State College for college credit, will be offered.

Morrisville State College will develop associate and bachelor degrees in Renewable Energy and offer training courses to professionals in the industry.

In addition, the project will be integrated with regional economic development and workforce activities intended to evaluate employer need, reverse regional job and population losses, and develop short courses that can provide critical skills for farmers, farm workers, bio-refinery workers, and unemployed adults looking to change careers.

The grant will also fund equipment for in-class demonstration and training, including additional wind turbines, emissions monitoring equipment, and a remote monitoring system for energy production from biowaste.

Additional funding will be provided for a variety of scholarships.

The college plans to hire a person to serve as project director for the Renewable Energy Training Center to coordinate and develop courses and collaborate with existing faculty to utilize their expertise in developing renewable energy opportunities related to agriculture and renewable resources. An additional position, an instructor/technician, will be hired to assist in the college’s renewable energy laboratories and to instruct courses for training or retraining in the workforce.

Morrisville State College offers more than 75 bachelor and associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.