Most of us would agree that the Plattsburgh/North Country area is poised for exciting things, thanks to a 20-year set of strategies aimed at positioning our economy for future success. We have remained a place that makes things and are in the right sectors to remain a manufacturing hub for years to come. Our Transportation Equipment & Aerospace cluster is now diverse, dynamic, and maturing—ready to generate more good things for the region. We are receiving unprecedented investment by New York State, which is betting on our future: $125 million for Norsk Titanium, $38 million for economic development at Plattsburgh International Airport, and $10 million for downtown Plattsburgh and more.
And $12.7 million for the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at Clinton Community College, now complete and ready to support skills development for current and future industry in the decades ahead.
Of all of these developments, I would regard the status, strength, and trajectory of Clinton Community College as the most important ingredient for success commanding our attention and support.
CCC is going through a challenging transition. Its financial status has been rocky. Its student enrollment last year was the lowest in its history. Its reserves are virtually depleted. And some serious errors were made by past leadership, such as the abandonment of its commitment to international students who generated both revenue and diversity for the school.
The good news is that the college is on track now for a strong future that will play a strong role in our area’s prosperity and progress. They have recruited a great new leader in President Ray DiPasquale, and have a solid pathway not only to stability but also to growth over the next few years. This will include maximizing the power of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing to attract students and to form relationships with employers, restarting and then rebuilding the college’s international student program, completing the current capital work on the campus that will make it a high-quality environment in all respects, and building creative new partnerships with institutions such as Clarkson University. And thanks to all involved—but especially the Clinton County Legislature, which has long recognized the importance of CCC to the county’s well-being and has stepped up once again—the school’s finances have been stabilized and there is now an opportunity to focus positively on growth.
We all must now lend our support to Clinton Community College as it moves through the next few crucial years. We must help to tell the story of its offerings, encourage consideration of its programs by both students and employers, contribute to the fundraising campaign for support of the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing if we are able, thank our County Legislators for their continued vision and support, and do all that we can individually and collectively to support and promote CCC’s success and growth.
Right now, this is the single most important way that everyone can join in maximizing the historic progress which is presently at our doorstep.