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$2.1 Million National Science Foundation Grant Awarded to Hudson Valley Community College's Technology Education Center

CONTACT: Deborah Renfrew (518) 629-7180,
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014

The Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC) based at Hudson Valley Community College has received a three-year extension grant of $2,151,310 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue and expand the nanotechnology and semiconductor education and training opportunities it offers throughout New York State and greater New England.

Created at Hudson Valley in 2010 with nearly $3 million in funding from the NSF, NEATEC promotes STEM education and community college faculty development, while providing supplemental services for the workforce of the semiconductor, nanotechnology, photovoltaic and high-tech industries. Its ongoing efforts include sponsoring workshops and internship-based training at local and national enterprises, assisting in the coordination of Hudson Valley’s student recruitment efforts for technology programs and developing pipeline programs that promote careers in the industry to students in grades K through 12.

“Hudson Valley Community College began as a technology institute in the 1950s and has remained true to its roots while leading academic and workforce training programs for a whole new era of technology in the 21st century. We are excited to continue NEATEC’s work through NSF funding for projects that foster economic development in our region and provide students and the community with advanced training and skills for the emerging economy,” said Drew Matonak, president of Hudson Valley Community College.

The college’s Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies (TEC-SMART) extension center in Malta has a working clean room where students and workforce development partners receive training. In addition, Hudson Valley offers a variety of degree and certificate programs in high technology areas, including: Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Electrical Construction and MaintenancePhotovoltaic Installation and Wind Technology.

“NEATEC is working with technology companies to identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing training programs and to establish education and professional development programs that fill an industry skills gap,” explained Abraham Michelen, principal investigator, executive director of NEATEC and a Hudson Valley faculty member. “With the new grant funding, the center has created the NEATEC Technology Training Center (NTTC), housed at TEC-SMART, to offer several already developed workshops to boost the skill levels of semiconductor manufacturing program graduates and allow them to begin work in a clean room without additional onsite training. Several other technical workshops also are being developed,” added Michelen. One tool that has been used effectively, he says, is NEATEC’s post-degree boot camp focused exclusively on clean room skills.

NEATEC also will encourage more student participation in internships, which provide additional training and lead to higher paying jobs. To date, NEATEC has placed 49 students in paid internships at local companies, six at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Washington, DC and 59 into job shadowing experiences. Hudson Valley, through NEATEC, is the only two-year college in the nation that was invited to send interns to a 12-week training session at the prestigious NIST. A new contract with NIST is being negotiated to train 27 students during the next three years.

NEATEC will assist Hudson Valley Community College and other community colleges in their efforts to recruit more students to semiconductor manufacturing technology programs, also. There is a vital need to increase the technical workforce to fill more than 1,000 currently existing and anticipated job openings at Global Foundries in Malta alone; there are similar needs in other nanotechnology firms in the Capital Region, including SematechApplied Materials and General Electric.

Since its founding, NEATEC has hosted three national professional development conferences for educators and industry representatives from across the country; created the monthly Speakers Bureau hosting speakers on topics such as safety and materials handling, dry etch and plasma techniques, photolithography, vacuum technology and metrology; participated in nearly ten events focused on the need for STEM education, including “Girls in STEM;” helped achieve job placement and retention rates of 99 percent for Hudson Valley’s semiconductor programs; and participated in seven out-of-state national technology conferences, to name a few accomplishments.

The center has served as the hub for collaboration among many partners, including Adirondack Community College, Fulton Montgomery Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College (plus regional school districts and other community colleges in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut), General Electric, Global Foundries, IBM, Rochester Institute of Technology, RPI, SEMATECH and SUNY Poly in Utica.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 75,000 alumni.