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SUNY Grant Allows Hudson Valley Community College to Further Expand Biotechnology Training

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Bryant (518) 629-8072
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, May 6, 2013

Hudson Valley Community College continues to position itself as a major training provider for the upstate New York biotechnology industry.

The college was recently awarded a $244,166 grant from the State University of New York’s High Needs Program to sustain and expand its biotechnology training programs. The funds will be used to create career-specific course modules tied to the needs of employers in the Capital Region biotech sector. Additionally, funds will also be used to purchase equipment that will be used in the modules.

The college is at the tail-end of a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that allowed it to greatly expand outreach and accessibility to its Biotechnology degree and certificate programs. The new grant will continue that work begun in 2010 and help link more career seekers to places like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Taconic, AMRI and the New York State Police Crime Investigations Laboratory, each of which plans to expand their workforce in the next year.

A survey of greater Capital Region companies found that there is a shortage of highly-skilled technicians for the biotechnology/biomanufacturing industry, and that a stronger pipeline of educated techs is needed. In addition to driving people into the college’s degree and certificate programs, the new grant will help the college develop more intensive, module-based courses based on specific needs. A current entry-level laboratory skills course that will begin this month attracted more than 100 potential students.

“We really have a diverse group of biotechnology employers in this region. Companies like Taconic and Regeneron and academic institutions like UAlbany and RPI have differing needs when it comes to their lab technicians,” said Biology, Chemistry and Physics Department Chairperson Dr. Peter Schaefer. “We can set up a multi-faceted approach to train students for specific needs. Some courses may provide entry-level laboratory skills and other courses may focus on specific topics like Good Manufacturing Processes and regulatory compliance.”

In order to provide broader access to the training, the college has created two additional training hubs – one at Albany High School and another at Averill Park High School. Labs in both schools have been renovated to meet the standards of a modern biotechnology lab.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 associate’s degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and also sponsors 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 13,250 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 75,000 alumni.