PLATTSBURGH — The North Country illustrates the benefits of increased collaboration between educational institutions, businesses, government and economic developers.
That brought New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera to Plattsburgh recently for a briefing on economic and workforce development.
He later toured the CV-TEC satellite campus and spoke at a luncheon hosted by the CV-TEC Culinary Arts program.
“This was a tremendously interesting experience I’ve had,” Rivera said.
He plans to make an example of such collaboration as he meets with leaders in other parts of the state.
Local success has been evident in the first two Regional Economic Development Council competitions, where the North Country was awarded $90.2 million for 82 projects in 2011 and $103.2 million for 70 projects in 2012.
“I expect the North Country to shine again this year,” Rivera said.
He spoke after a tour of the CV-TEC satellite campus, where he visited Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute and the CV-TEC Welding Program.
He also performed a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the CV-TEC Heavy Equipment Program, which is nearing completion of its relocation to the satellite campus from the main campus.
Satellite campus Principal James McCartney said that move has provided the program with 4,000 square feet of indoor shop space. Upgrades include a new Hunter and Mohawk heavy-equipment lift and alignment rack with a 75,000-pound lift capacity and a new Gorbel jib crane capable of hoisting 5 tons.
The satellite campus also provides about 250,000 square feet of outdoor space for students to learn to safely operate heavy equipment.
McCartney said the Welding Program has provided specialized training to Bombardier employees — a 700-hour course on stainless-steel welding aligned with Canadian Welding Certification and American Welding Society standards, paid for through Department of Labor grant funds.
CV-TEC is in collaboration with Bombardier to craft an agreement to train the company’s welding supervisors in basic welding theory and applied welding theory so they better understand the work in their departments.
He said CV-TEC also benefits from donations of stainless-steel scrap used to train students in specialized welding of that material.
Rivera said he had been to the North Country decades ago, when he worked in the private sector. He was impressed by the changes since that time.
“I can see the growth, the beauty and the changes in the community,” he said.
Rivera said he wants to visit several more times to see what the area will look like a year from now, five years from now and 10 years from now.
“My message to you is ‘Remember, the Department of Labor is your partner,’” he said.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said Rivera and his department have been invaluable to the region’s workforce-development efforts.
“Commissioner Rivera has been, and after this visit, I know he will be even more of a valuable partner,” he said.
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