Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the latest round of SUNY High Needs grants June 6.
"The High Needs Program and others like it are helping fulfill SUNY's original purpose: to be world class institutions that foster cutting edge innovation and train the next generation of high tech workers," he said. "SUNY is leading the way in the workforce training that is tailored to the jobs of tomorrow. Coupled with the Tax-Free NY initiative, this program will encourage new entrepreneurs to start their businesses in New York, keep their business in New York, grow their businesses in New York and, most importantly, hire New Yorkers."
Dr. Lorrie Clemo, SUNY Oswego's vice president of academic affairs and provost, said the High Needs funds provide welcome support for the college's efforts to attract talented students to its engineering programs, retain them, provide real-world instruction and experiences, and send them off to high-demand occupations.
"The support we receive through the High Needs grant will allow us to create and sustain a recruitment pipeline into our software engineering program and our new electrical and computer engineering program," Clemo said. "This will enable us to produce more graduates in fields important to the region, far into the future."
The three-year grant will enable Oswego to launch two one-week summer robotics camps starting in 2014 for high school science students and freshmen entering area community colleges. It also will enable the college to hire a wireless engineering specialist to staff the Wireless Solutions Lab in the new Richard S. Shineman Science, Innovation and Engineering Center, set to open for classes in August.
The teaching and research lab in Oswego will link faculty-mentored student projects to the new Center for Innovation in Wireless Technology – art of the new SUNY Institute of Environmental Health and Environmental Medicine in Syracuse. A $15 million NYSUNY 2020 grant to the three Syracuse SUNY institutions and SUNY Oswego supports the new institute.
"Thanks to our productive partnerships with industry in our region, SUNY Oswego is poised to make our mark in innovative applications of wireless technology," said college President Deborah F. Stanley. "The new funding announced this week supports significant research and development assets that will also help to generate start-ups under Gov. Cuomo's new Tax-Free NY initiative."
SUNY Oswego received letters of support endorsing the SUNY High Needs grant proposal from executives of Novelis, MedTech, Welch Allyn, CenterState CEO and the city of Oswego. The college's Engineering Advisory Board, helping guide the development of the engineering programs, has representatives of those companies, as well as Lockheed Martin, O'Brien & Gere, C&S Engineering, SRC Inc. and Constellation Energy, among others.
The software engineering program at Oswego emphasizes solutions to real-world problems, providing students with instruction and a yearlong capstone experience in software design, construction, testing, quality assurance and other skills in high demand in business and industry.
Similarly, the college's electrical and computer engineering program is expected to help meet demand regionally and nationally for engineers in such cutting-edge fields as bioinstrumentation, robotics and power systems and in embedded systems such as microprocessors.
The SUNY High Needs Program, established in 2006 to meet state demand for nurses and engineers, expanded the areas of workforce need in the new round of grants to encompass renewable and clean energy, biomedical and biotechnical, agriculture and agribusiness and information technology fields, as well as expanding to more health care and engineering and technology occupations.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L Zimpher said the impact of the High Needs Program has been "substantial," with more than 1,000 students a year added or retrained in nursing and engineering to date. "By expanding our target fields to include emerging 21st century demands, we are ensuring that SUNY students are graduating with the skills and expertise New York employers are looking for," the chancellor said.