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SUNY key to state jobs growth, chancellor says

Jan 15, 2011 1:18 pm
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="SUNY Chancellor Susan Zimpher"][/caption]SUNY Chancellor Susan Zimpher is saying that the state university system's 64 colleges, 88,000 professors and employees, and hundreds of thousands of students are all part of her new “Power of SUNY” plan to jumpstart the state's jobs picture and economy, while simultaneously strengthening academic excellence and meeting the needs of today’s students. The prolific Kathy Kahn of HVBiz has a story out this week about a series of recent Chamber of Commerce and other regional community meetings where she's pitched her vision for SUNY as an engine for job creation.
With the economy in the doldrums and unemployment hovering nationally at 9 percent, the state’s education system is not immune to the pain of staff reduction, where tenure does not necessarily guarantee a lifetime job anymore, and cutting programs are needed to streamline curriculum and make them more in tune with what is needed to jumpstart the economy. Zimpher is confident the schools’ $4,970 yearly tuition and newly created programs will make it economically feasible for students and see them graduating with job skills designed for the 21st century.

The story goes on to note how Zimpher has toured all 64 SUNY campuses in the past year, including Columbia-Greene and Hudson Valley community colleges, meeting with presidents, boards of trustees and personnel, taking notes and creating a vision for SUNY as an economic engine, one that will tout innovation, entrepreneurship and “jobs, jobs, and more jobs.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tapped SUNY to be part of the regional economic councils his transition team is creating to address different segments of the economy.?With nearly a half-million students in its 64 schools – including three medical campuses, an optometry college and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, Zimpher’s presentation to the business community outlined the course it plans to take in being part of job creation and stimulating New York’s sagging financial status.

RCC has several programs already on line for the spring and summer semesters, among them, Small Wind Energy Workshops, Introduction to Photovoltaics and Solar Hot Water System Design.

“Unfortunately, although many programs are geared toward the needs of the future, will those jobs be there?” asked Arthur Anthonisen, president of the Hudson Valley International Trade Association and deeply involved with the state’s SUNY system for two decades.

Anthonisen also pointed out that many students coming out of high school are interested in other trades that do not require a college degree. “What are we doing to meet that need?”

At the end of 2010, SUNY opened its fifth Confucius Institute for Business in the Levin Institute at SUNY’s Global Center in Manhattan, focusing exclusively on business and working professionals. It is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education and will focus on preparing the working business person with language skills and cultural knowledge.

Zimpher is bullish on business – many are hoping the “Power of SUNY,” combined with the system’s interaction with the business community and involvement in the new administration’s economic councils, will bring the jobs that New York desperately needs for its students.

“The Power of SUNY” is available in its entirety at www.suny.edu/powerofsuny.
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