Much More Than a Building

May 17th was an historic day for the North Country as ground was officially broken for the new Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) at Clinton Community College, now under full construction. Launching any construction project in support of CCC would be important at any time, but this ground breaking was especially significant for several reasons.

The Institute will provide a special facility that is designed specifically to support the development of the skills needed for 21st century manufacturing, with high ceilings and a modern industrial character that will strongly support preparation for good jobs and careers in our area›s changing and growing manufacturing community. This will be a remarkable, multi-faceted “tools” in support of the needs of area industry now and tomorrow as well as a pathway for economic advancement for North Country people and their families.

But it is even more significant than the foregoing implies because of one important element: Partnerships. IAM is already not only an extension of the industrial tech programs of Clinton Community College but a platform that will feature collaboration with a number of other educational and training providers, including a historic linkage between CCC and Clarkson University and the new engagement of Champlain College in Longueuil, Quebec, achieved in June in an agreement signed with Clinton.

And that’s still not all, as the new Institute for Advanced Manufacturing has also become an important attraction in our economic development team’s continuous efforts to draw new employers and investment. There are already significant developments under way which might not be occurring without the firm promise that this new institute was on its way. And going forward it will be a true centerpiece in the story we can tell about how we will meet a new company’s skills needs, and definitely a place we will take prospects when they visit.

Norsk Titanium is a perfect example. The commitment to IAM and its related partnerships was definitely an indispensable part of the successful case we needed to make over the last year in order to convince Norsk that we could in fact meet their special workforce needs.

And then, on top of all else, this visionary embrace of manufacturing technology by Clinton Community College, and by the Clinton County Legislature, provides a clear way forward for the college itself as it must increasingly compete for students in the face of changing demographics and finances. This is the new foundation for a growing, prospering, sustainable community college in the years ahead.

Special thanks to the college’s board and leadership, to the county, to all of the educational and training partners who are involved, and to the businesses who continue to provide invaluable guidance on the design, content and future offerings. And particular thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo who listened to the case for IAM a few years ago and responded positively with the $12.7 million in SUNY 2020 funding required to make it a reality.

ONWARD and UPWARD, as we continue to watch this historic new asset rise between now and next summer!