FULTON — Cayuga Community College (CCC) officials say they are “working tirelessly” to add an Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) through its Fulton campus to help meet the needs of the local workforce.

With hopes to begin building the AMI in the summer, the program’s goal will be to fill hundreds of open employment spots with local workers at area manufacturers, said Carla DeShaw, CCC’s Executive Dean of Community Education and Workforce Development.

CCC has secured more than $400,000 in funding for the AMI, backed by the help of a SUNY grant and area employers associated with Operation Oswego County, said DeShaw. The school is also planning to apply for an Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant in mid-April.

“We have been working tirelessly for a number of years to solidify the funding in place to be able to build an advanced manufacturing institute here on our Fulton campus to support those employers,” said CCC President Brian Durant.

The AMI would focus in the areas of mechanical and electrical technology to help teach industrial maintenance along with machining.

“It will be the premier lab in the area where students will learn hydraulics, ethics, and new industrial controls,” said DeShaw.

DeShaw noted the college is still weighing its options on either renovating an existing building, likely costing in the $800,000 to $1 million range, or constructing a new one for the AMI, which would cost approximately $3-4 million.

CCC is also contemplating putting the AMI, which would be used by college students and area companies for training incumbent workers, on either an employer’s site or at its Fulton campus.

Novelis Oswego Plant Manager Kevin Shutt said developing a local talent pool is a great need for county manufacturers.

“There continues to be an urgent need in Oswego County to develop the talent pool necessary to fill entry-level to mid-level positions in advanced manufacturing,” said Shutt. “We believe that the Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Cayuga Community College will be instrumental in developing a workforce that will enable local manufacturers to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of their customers.”

DeShaw echoed Shutt’s sentiment about establishing a local pool of candidates.

“The main goal to establish the AMI is to develop a local, regional talent pool for the jobs that are currently remaining unfilled with the ultimate goal of retaining your manufacturers in Oswego County,” said DeShaw. “If they can’t find quality employees, they might have to leave. Right now it’s costing them quite a considerable amount of money to find candidates outside the area.”

CCC in Fulton currently offers a 12-week “boot camp,” in collaboration with the Oswego County Workforce New York office. It’s run by industrial trainers from area corporations to help address the need for entry level workers in manufacturing, DeShaw said.

The program, called the Advanced Manufacturing Pre-employment Program, takes in 12 to 14 individuals.

“The people we’re working with are people that have been consistently not successful in finding work,” DeShaw said. “They have multiple barriers and the last I checked, I believe our placement rate was close to 70 percent, which is very good.”

DeShaw said CCC has recently been approved to offer a one-year credit program in industrial maintenance, which will allow students to graduate with a certificate. She added the school has applied to offer a two-year degree program in the field, which DeShaw said she expects to be accepted.

In January 2016, CCC’s Auburn campus opened a 3,000-square-foot AMI focusing on plastic technology because it’s a main industry in Cayuga County, DeShaw said.

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