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Catch up on the latest news and information regarding the work we do, and those served by the Economic and Workforce Development Center.

New York Inspire Project: Tuition-Free Education And Training

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Under the leadership of the economic and workforce development division, MCC has been awarded a $6 million America’s Promise grant through the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant is a portion of a $111 million package of federal grants awarded late last year. Nearly two dozen community colleges across the country received grants as part of the Obama administration plan to invest in education and training programs and create more pathways to employment for millions of Americans.

The MCC award is funding NY INSPIRE, a 4-year project, which includes a consortium of local community colleges and partners led by MCC. The objective is to connect under-served urban and rural youth, veterans, and incumbent workers with tuition-free training and education in advanced manufacturing, information technology, and health care occupations.

Programs will include a variety of work-based learning opportunities to help participants obtain necessary skills, competencies and credentials including apprenticeship, on-the-job training, paid work experience and paid internships. A mixture of classroom education, cohort-based learning and technology-enabled training strategies will also be used.

To learn more about the NY INSPIRE project, contact MCC at

MCC Awarded $550,000 Federal Grant To Strengthen Regional Optics, Photonics Workforce

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National Science Foundation funds to expand educational and experiential learning opportunities for students and educators

BRIGHTON, N.Y. – April 25, 2017 – Monroe Community College’s new Optics & Photonics Technology Innovation—OPT IN!—program has received $550,434 from the National Science Foundation to connect more high school and college students to career opportunities in these growing fields and produce a skilled workforce needed to keep up with industry demands.

Funded over the next three years, the OPT IN! program will help provide education and training for 850 area high school and college students, increase internship opportunities, and expand outreach efforts to populations underrepresented in the optics and photonics industry, including women and minorities.

Currently the only U.S. community college that offers an associate degree in optical systems technology, MCC will enhance its existing program with new industry-based curriculum and industry-standard lab equipment and build collaborations allowing more high school students to earn college credits toward a degree at MCC.

In addition, summer internships and 2+2 transfer opportunities between MCC and four-year institutions will be developed. Not only will students gain real-world, hands-on experiences that connect to classroom learning, they will have the option to continue their education at a transfer college in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

Through the OPT IN! program, high school teachers and MCC faculty will receive professional development through externships to broaden their knowledge of modern industry practices. Mentoring will also be provided to regional high school teachers to prepare them to teach a dual-enrollment Introduction to Optics course, in an effort to cultivate students’ interest in the subject.

Efforts will focus on broadening regional industry and community partnerships aimed at providing experiential learning opportunities and education about optics and photonics as a career option. The OPT IN! program will strengthen alliances with AIM Photonics, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, the Rochester Museum & Science Center, New York Photonics, the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, secondary and postsecondary educators, regional industry partners, and more.

“We are very appreciative of the support of Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Slaughter in helping us secure this grant,” said Dr. Alexis Vogt, associate professor in MCC’s Engineering Technologies Department and chair of the optics program. “This grant will allow MCC to strengthen our region’s optics and photonics workforce and provide students here with employment opportunities in regional high-skill, high-demand positions. Ultimately this funding gives us the foundation to begin creating a regional center that will ensure we have the workforce it needs to attract, build and sustain a strong photonics industry.”

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MCC And Kodak Partner To Train Region’s Next Generation Workforce

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New site at Eastman Business Park will focus on careers in advanced manufacturing and skilled trades.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Nov. 30, 2016 – Revitalization efforts continue at Eastman Business Park (EBP) as Kodak teams up with Monroe Community College (MCC) to establish the Finger Lakes Workforce Development (FWD) Center in the park. The partnership was formed in response to the region’s demand for skilled workers across a variety of manufacturing sectors and technical occupations. The FWD Center will support the Pathways to Prosperity focus of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council plan and is designed to connect individuals with the skills needed to advance in today’s economy.

MCC will offer manufacturing-oriented programs and skilled trades training within classroom and lab space at EBP — in the same location where thousands of skilled Kodak workers learned their trades over the years.

The regional facility will be newly outfitted with portable training equipment to support MCC’s curricula, including courses in mechatronics, a multidisciplinary field that incorporates engineering, mechanics, electronics and other technical learning. A portion of the dedicated space in the facility will be used for noncredit apprenticeship training for skilled trades careers, such as electricians and pipefitters.

“MCC’s vision for the center includes creating flexible spaces that support a variety of programs and allow us to quickly modify programming to match the skills the College has measured as being most in demand within the region,” said Todd Oldham, vice president of MCC’s Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services Division.

According to Dolores Kruchten, president of Eastman Business Park, landing a workforce development program on the same site as many companies within those key clusters — including photonics, energy, chemical processing and food processing — provides a great resource for some of Rochester’s newest entrepreneurs and employers.

“We are thrilled to be working with MCC to help provide well-trained employees to companies within the region, especially those that have chosen to locate at EBP,” said Kruchten. “The workforce development center is a key plank in our strategy to revitalize the Park as a hub where learning, development, innovation and manufacturing are happening at accelerated rates.”

Currently, Eastman Business Park’s 1,200-acre campus is home to over 60 tenant companies and owners, representing approximately 5,000 non-Kodak employees today.

Several of these employers have expressed interest in sending their employees for training at the new site at EBP, as well as hiring its newly minted graduates. These same companies will also be an important element in future on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs MCC plans to offer at EBP.

“Workforce development is one of the most important issues facing employers today,” said Phil Viruso, vice president of LiDestri Foods. “The advanced manufacturing sector requires a skilled labor pool, and we must invest in growing that next generation of workers. Having this Center at Eastman Business Park
enables us to participate in developing qualified technicians, and ultimately to benefit from the new talent pipeline that’s being created here.”

The first phase of the facility’s development will be funded through $6 million in NYSUNY 2020 awards, with the remaining phases being supported by $5.4 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative grants through Empire State Development. Additionally, the project will leverage the recently awarded $6 million grant through the federal America’s Promise initiative, and a private investment of $320,000 from JPMorgan Chase, to support student tuition and fees for qualified students and programs. The project funds will be used to drive economic development and manufacturing jobs growth by building out a manufacturing ecosystem on site at the Park to enable commercialization of new technologies.

“The workforce development center will provide tremendous value across the region,” said Oldham. “It will connect individuals to economic opportunities by training them in skills that will prepare them for jobs needed in the region. It will be a boon to businesses at EBP and in the region and help strengthen
important sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, within our local economy. My thanks go to Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development, SUNY, Eastman Kodak and Eastman Business Park for their partnership in making this important initiative possible.”

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Honored for Accelerating Regional Skills Training for Adults with MCC

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The Monroe Community College Foundation and its supporters will present the 2016 Salute to Excellence award to JPMorgan Chase & Co. for the firm’s partnership with and investment in Monroe Community College to accelerate demand-driven skills training opportunities for adults. JPMorgan Chase representatives will accept the award at the MCC Foundation’s 27th annual Salute to Excellence dinner this evening, Nov. 17, at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

JPMorgan Chase and its affiliates have supported student success, college-readiness programs and other initiatives through major gifts for many years. In June 2015, JPMorgan Chase awarded a $320,000 grant to the MCC Foundation to create a middle-skill bridge program and expand accelerated certificate programs at MCC. The grant is associated with the firm’s New Skills at Work initiative, a $250 million commitment to address skill gaps in communities around the world. The firm’s partnership with MCC is increasing job-training opportunities and providing options for individuals to earn a college credential in less than a year in pursuit of high-demand careers in fields like advanced manufacturing and mechatronics.

“JPMorgan Chase’s support of public higher education through the MCC Foundation creates opportunities for people to transform their lives and pursue new paths to prosperity,” said Diane L. Shoger, executive director of the MCC Foundation. “We are honored to present the Salute to Excellence award to JPMorgan Chase and hope Greater Rochester will join us in applauding their generosity and their New Skills at Work initiative.”

“Using our resources and expertise to help the communities where we live and work is in our DNA at JPMorgan Chase,” said Matt Tipple, Rochester market executive for JPMorgan Chase and honorary chair of the Salute to Excellence event. “We’re so proud of our partnership with Monroe Community College, which is giving folks in Rochester the skills they need to fill important jobs within the advanced manufacturing sector.”

In collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, MCC is working to increase the pool of qualified workers available to employers in middle-skill workforce clusters where skill gaps exist within the Finger Lakes economy. The partnership also enables MCC to bolster its labor market intelligence efforts to better determine and anticipate regional workforce needs.

MCC President Anne M. Kress said, “JPMorgan Chase’s investment is fueling new, accelerated programs that guide students towards academic success and the skills required to enter exciting career fields like advanced manufacturing and mechatronics. MCC is grateful for our longstanding partnership and the opportunity to join forces with JPMorgan Chase to promote economic vitality across the Finger Lakes region.”

Naomi Silver, Rochester Red Wings, serves on the MCC Foundation Board and as dinner chair. Gold sponsors include Avangrid Foundation, Corning Incorporated, D&C Digital and Dixon Schwabl.

An honored Rochester tradition since 1989, the Salute to Excellence award reflects the recipient’s commitment to public higher education and the community. Past recipients of the Salute to Excellence award include Greater Rochester Health Foundation, Xerox Foundation, Robin ’80 and Timothy ’80 Wentworth, and the Corning Incorporated Foundation.

For more information, visit or call (585) 262-1500. The event reception will begin at 5:30 p.m.; the dinner and award ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Monroe Community College Foundation seeks philanthropic investment to advance academic achievement, innovation, and the mission of excellence at the college.

MCC Awarded $6 Million Federal Grant To Expand Tuition-Free Education And Training

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Collaborative initiative prepares students for advanced manufacturing, IT, health care careers.

BRIGHTON, N.Y. – Nov. 17, 2016 – Monroe Community College has been awarded a $6 million grant through the U.S. Department of Labor to increase tuition-free education and training opportunities in high-demand fields of advanced manufacturing, information technology, and health care.

The grant is part of the America’s Promise initiative to support tuition-free programs tailored to industry-specific skills and to strengthen innovative partnerships between community colleges and other training providers.

MCC is among nine U.S. community colleges to be awarded the grant.

Through Project INSPIRE: Advancing Finger Lakes Forward, tuition-free education and job training will be delivered to 1,070 eligible participants across the Finger Lakes region in response to employers’ demand for qualified workers in manufacturing, IT and health care.

Underserved urban and rural residents, military veterans, and incumbent workers will receive middle- to high-skills training through paid apprenticeships, paid clinical internships and experiential learning.

Advanced manufacturing certificate and degree programs will be offered in certified production technician, precision tooling, optical fabrication, mechatronics and photonics. Information technology certificates will be offered for careers as network technician, mobile application developer, and cybersecurity administration. Health care certificates will target allied health fields of clinical medical assistant, phlebotomy technician, medical coding and billing, and certified nursing assistant to licensed practical nurse (CNA-LPN).

“Through this federal grant and public-private partnerships, we will make it possible for hundreds of individuals to achieve high-demand careers that provide family-sustaining wages,” said MCC President Anne M. Kress. “MCC’s collaborations with industry, employers and area community colleges are critical to closing the skills gaps and bolstering the regional economy. We are grateful to our federal delegation for their work in advancing this initiative and in support of students.”

Project INSPIRE is an initiative of the Finger Lakes United for Success Consortium–a partnership of regional SUNY community colleges, workforce development boards, employer associations, and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

Consortium partners are MCC; Finger Lakes Community College; Genesee Community College; RochesterWorks!; Finger Lakes Works; Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming Workforce Development Board (GLOW); Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; The Manufacturers Association (MACNY); Manufacturers Alliance of New York; Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association; Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers’ Enterprise; Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster; and Rochester Regional Health.

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