Building off the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s designation of transportation, aerospace and manufacturing as priority areas for economic growth, the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College will establish a pipeline of educational programs and training to strengthen industry in the area.

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IAM AT CCC = VI (Very Important)

As we endeavor to successfully grasp the opportunities which lie both in sustaining and growing our already large and diverse manufacturing base and in preparing a workforce that can meet the coming needs of new employers, we must focus on priority strategies for the near term and also for the medium term.

Presently, I would suggest that no workforce initiative is more important than the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College.

As a major new physical asset, made possible through a $12.7 million grant secured from Governor Andrew Cuomo, its design must be appropriate for the sort of flexible training our current and anticipated employers will need. And I can affirm that CCC has actively engaged the local economic development and manufactur­ing community in devising a plan which maximizes high ceiling, flexible space for applied learning now and in response to future changing demands and needs.

But the IAM project is far more than a building. It is the physical core of an increasingly diverse and effective industrial tech program at the college itself and, even more significantly, a place in which to bring full life to an historic collaboration of education and training partners -- including not only CCC but many other part­ners, among them Clarkson University.

It is this next level of partnership, utilizing a state-of-the-art facility, which holds such great promise for not only addressing our area's skills needs, but helping to leverage many of our citizens into enhanced careers and · a higher quality of life for themselves and their families.And it can position Clinton Community College to outperform many competing colleges in the new age of smaller pools of high school graduates, creating a unique set of programs and partnerships that will make CCC the "go to" school.

We thank CCC and its leaders for their foresight and confidence, and for their enthusiastic embrace of collaboration with other schools and programs and with employers and area economic developers. The stakes for the North Country are very high and the overarching vision is ambitious and far reaching. All of which makes the upcoming groundbreaking more historic than the usual groundbreak­ings for academic buildings.

From Onward and Upward, by Garry Douglas, President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce

This article has been updated to reflect the current name of the project: Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College.