SUNY Orange to Work with TSEC, GET, Area Academic Institutions on Job Creation in Renewable Energy Sector

PHOTO: John Fernandez, Asst. Secretary of CommerceNEWBURGH, N.Y. – SUNY Orange, receiving one of the largest grants in its history, will serve as the lead educational institution in the newly created New York Renewable Energy Cluster, officially unveiled today by Congressman Maurice Hinchey and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce John Fernandez during a press conference at Kaplan Hall on the College’s Newburgh campus.

Hinchey (below) and Fernandez (right) announced that $1.95 million in federal funds have been committed to establish NYREC, which will aid The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC), in partnership with SUNY Orange and Gateway to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows (GET), in attracting clean energy manufacturing to Orange County and spur job creation within the City of Newburgh. The funds are coming from three government agencies and coordinated via the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge offered through the U.S. Department of Commerce.

From those grant funds, the College will oversee $1 million in Employment and Training Administration funding to spearhead educational and workforce training programming in collaboration with SUNY Ulster, SUNY New Paltz, Binghamton University.

PHOTO: Congressman Maurice HincheyThe College will coordinate educational and workforce training activities in clean energy technologies; conduct industry forums to accurately assess training needs; and work with the SUNY Clean Energy Technology Training Consortium, which includes SUNY Ulster, Rockland Community College, Dutchess Community College and SUNY Sullivan, to develop and deliver credit and non-credit courses, certificate programs and workshops in clean energy technology.

SUNY Orange will hire and direct a full-time project coordinator to unify the academic efforts of the participating colleges and also meet with, advise and/or direct students to the program’s academic offerings best suited to their individual goals and situations. Advising and related support services will also be provided to economically disadvantaged minority students interested in engineering, math and the sciences.

In addition to the grant received by SUNY Orange, TSEC will receive $800,000 from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to establish cluster development mechanisms that will focus on business support services to start-ups, including market research, site analysis and access to capital. A $150,000 grant has been awarded to GET by the Small Business Administration to specifically target underserved and disadvantaged residents in Newburgh.

“SUNY Orange welcomes the opportunity to participate in this exciting grant program and we appreciate the faith that our sister colleges have shown in us by allowing the College to lead the important educational portion of the New York Renewable Energy Cluster project,” says Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president. “A significant part of SUNY Orange’s mission is to support the development of a robust workforce in this region by offering a variety of academic degree and non-credit training programs.

PHOTO: John Fernandez discusses the NYREC grant project“We are anxious to work with The Solar Energy Consortium, Gateway to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows, regional academic institutions and others to spur economic revitalization in the Hudson Valley, and this project’s focus on job creation within the City of Newburgh also offers us another chance to reaffirm our commitment to the City and its continued resurgence.”

“This is exactly the type of economic development I envisioned when I spearheaded the creation of TSEC in 2007,” says Hinchey. “The City of Newburgh is a great city, which continues to struggle towards revitalization, and this new partnership between TSEC, SUNY Orange, and Gateway to Entrepreneurial Tomorrows is going to help the City’s revitalization through new economic development and the creation of green jobs. The program will help to provide expertise to new homegrown green energy businesses, and it will help educate and train local workers who can be employed by those businesses. This is outstanding news for Newburgh, and I know it will give a big boost to the region. A lot of hard work went into this, and it’s going to create a lot of jobs for people here in Orange County as a result.”

Since helping to establish The Solar Energy Consortium in 2007, Hinchey has secured $31 million for TSEC and its partner companies, creating hundreds of new jobs in the Hudson Valley. More than 600 jobs throughout the region have been created as a result.

Quotes from the Press Conference

"There are a lot of good feelings about where the economy will go. There is lots of innovation out there. This is a 'bottom up' strategy and an alignment of existing programs." -- John Fernandez, assistant secretary of commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce.

"This grant will help create jobs and train employees for those jobs." -- Carl Meyer, Co-CEO of The Solar Energy Consortium

"This is a unique and visionary collaboration. We need to bring jobs to a historic and once prosperous city. Newburgh is a wonderful and marvelous city, once grand and glorious." -- Congressman Maurice Hinchey

PHOTO: Roundtable discussion following press conference

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Mike Albright
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