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Preparing for Nano Utica

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement Thursday that six global technology leaders are committing $1.5 billion to create "Nano Utica" has local elected leaders and politicians in motion, trying to make sure central New York has the skilled workforce to fill the anticipated 1500 jobs.

Nano Utica is an expansion of the Quad C project at SUNYIT. The project is doubling, and will go from creating an anticipated 500 jobs, to 1500 jobs. Quad C is the research and development arm of the effort to bring nanotechnology to the campus.

Once up and running, Quad C will require a workforce with 'STEM' degrees; science, technology, engineering and math.  The founder of one of the six companies committing millions to Quad C says that, in addition to workers with advanced degrees, his company will employ what he calls very trained technical people with associates degrees.  MVCC President Randall VanWagoner has been preparing for this day.

"The job demands are going to be so great in this area, that's part of the reason we pursued the grant applications that we did, to try and get the training grant for people who might be in a different career, and want to accelerate their training to come into where the new demands are," says VanWagoner.
 
VanWagoner says MVCC graduates have already enjoyed robust success in the nanotechnology industry.
  
"We've had a couple of alumni come back and tell us that they're literally making with an associates degree, making six figures and turning down overtime."
  
While college presidents focus on training and educating the workforce to meet the demands of Quad C, elected leaders work on shaping the community for this transformation.
   
"We have to address the educational, the housing and the diversity needs and we have to do that in a measured way that is outlined just as the plans for a building are outlined," says Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr., who touched upon his plan, 'Vision 20-20", in his State of the County address in March.
    
Construction for Quad C is already underway on the SUNYIT campus in Marcy and was expanded to accommodate Nano Utica.  It's expected to be complete toward the end of 2014.

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