It’s impossible to discuss business in the North Country without the topic of workforce development creeping into the conversation. The economy is recovering, businesses are moving here from other regions, start-ups are up, and the manufacturing sector is growing. With all of these exciting developments, the conversation always turns to the challenges of staffing in this region.
In true Adirondack style this problem may have a homegrown solu- tion. “As the number of companies relocating to the region increases, we are seeing more and more opportunities for the many graduates of our region’s community, state and private colleges and universi- ties,” stated David Coryer, vice president of ETS.
One institution helping to expand the workforce with quality applicants is SUNY Plattsburgh. “The university has been an important part of providing qualified graduates for the local workforce since it was estab- lished in 1889 as a normal school for the training of teachers,” Keith Tyo, chief of staff to the president of SUNY Plattsburgh, pointed out.
As the needs of the community grew and changed, SUNY Plattsburgh’s programs expanded to encompass a wide variety of offerings and it stepped up its efforts to develop a local workforce to grow with the economy. Through a number of initiatives, the school not only pre- pares students for robust careers, but attempts to integrate graduates into the community. “We are trying to keep Plattsburgh graduates here, but they need job opportunities,” Tyo explained.
– SUNY is one of the largest university systems in the world.
– New York State Senator Benjamin Feinberg of Plattsburgh introduced the legislation that established the SUNY system.
– Plattsburgh became part of the SUNY system when it was established in 1948.
– Number of employers who recruit from SUNY Plattsburgh: 1035.
– Number of job and internship postings from 2014-15 academic year: 2481.
The Career Development Center (CDC) on campus is where the academic and profes- sional worlds seem to come together. Tyo gave the center’s director, Dr. Julia Overton- Healy high praise for carrying out the CDC’s mission: to empower students toward a meaningful career and life-long professional success. “She is a very caring individual who is deeply committed to providing the neces- sary resources for our students and working with employers who can benefit from our campus resources,” added Tyo.
According to Overton-Healy, the consistent expectation from employers in all areas is people who produce great outcomes. In addition to classroom learning, Plattsburgh students gain leadership, team work and communication skills that help them excel outside of the boundaries of the campus and beyond their college education.
Experience is another key component to success. The CDC brings opportuni- ties for experience to students through CardinalConnect, its online system. “We work with students to prepare them to compete for these experiences by way of resume development, interview skills and on-board- ing preparation,” Overton-Healy explained.
In addition to the many services provided for employers by the CDC, SUNY Plattsburgh’s School of Business & Economics (SBE) has its own unique program designed to place students in local businesses and agencies where they gain practical work experience each semester. Mary Carpenter, Director of Internships & Career Opportunities, works with accounting firms, banks, manufacturers, hotels and restaurants, high schools, the Medical Center, our public television station, local governments, not-for-profits, and a multitude of service providers to make successful matches.
Asked about the SBE’s program Carpenter explained, “There are so many benefits to the working relationships we have developed with the business community. Students see the area in a whole new light when they go off campus and learn about the diversity of businesses. And at the same time employers get to know our students, they develop per- sonal relationships with them. They see them grow and develop; they see their potential and in an increasing number of cases they see a future for them in their businesses. That is a win-win for everyone.”
Tyo pointed to the legacy of progress SUNY Plattsburgh has in growing with the commu- nity it serves. “While we continue to prepare qualified teachers for public and private schools throughout the North Country and New York State, we also graduate students who are prepared for positions in vari- ous other fields. As the needs of businesses across the region change and grow, SUNY Plattsburgh continues to support them with qualified personnel.”
“SUNY Plattsburgh produces more than a workforce,” Overton-Healy concluded. “We help prepare young adults for meaningful lives of productivity and community engage- ment. Our students know their academic disciplines and they also know how to be great employees, citizens and neighbors.”