Newswise — As part of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s $15 million clean energy workforce development initiative, Buffalo State College is receiving a $753,000 grant to develop clean energy certificate programs. To be completed in a partnership with the New York Power Authority, the certificates will earn students credits toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology, electrical engineering technology, or industrial technology.

A committee composed of representatives from SUNY, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Department of Labor reviewed the proposals. They awarded nearly $6 million to 10 SUNY campuses to train more workers in the clean energy sector.

“We are extremely excited to be part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to develop and promote clean energy jobs,” said Buffalo State Provost Melanie Perreault. “This initiative will help our planet in the long-term. In the immediate future, it will benefit individuals in our community by opening up new pathways to higher education and better job possibilities.”

A request for proposals also was made available to all SUNY campuses for grants totaling $9 million to provide apprenticeships, internships, educational programs, and support through industry partnerships with state and local agencies including the Department of Labor, NYSERDA, Empire State Development, and Industrial Development Agencies.

“The alarms have sounded again and again on the consequences of climate change, overdependence on fossil fuels, and increased energy use and costs,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “SUNY is proud to provide high-quality, hands-on, and the most up-to-date clean energy education and training to our students, building a diverse, preeminent talent pipeline for today and tomorrow’s clean energy industry in New York State. We are proud to be a part of the governor’s long-term energy solution.”

These initiatives are part of Climate Jobs NY, a component of Clean Climate Careers initiative.

“As the federal government moves further away from responsible energy policy and clean energy production, New York is committed to fighting climate change and protecting our environment,” Cuomo said. “We will continue to take bold action to promote clean energy across the state and support job growth in cutting-edge, renewable industries.”

At Buffalo State, the clean energy certificate programs are slated to start in fall 2020. 

 “We envision this as a two-pronged win for Buffalo State—providing a valuable certificate program for individuals who may not desire a four-year degree and providing hands-on experience in the growing field of clean energy for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees,” said Jim Mayrose, dean of the School of the Professions, which includes the engineering technology disciplines.

The objectives include gearing college curriculum toward industrial skills gaps, improving linkages to economic development, addressing skills shortages in the energy sector, educating area residents to fill those skills gaps, and creating a new pathway to post-secondary education, Mayrose said. The long-term goal is for Buffalo State to serve as a nationwide model to communities looking to improve workforce skills and to be seen as a leader in clean energy workforce training.