Thursday, 13 October 2022 14:35

“Classroom on Wheels” Aims to Combat Skilled Labor Shortage

Sarah Wilson-Sparrow, Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Education, SUNY Schenectady; Laurie Poltynski, Regional Director, National Grid; and Dr. Steady Moono, President, SUNY Schenectady Photo provided. Sarah Wilson-Sparrow, Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Education, SUNY Schenectady; Laurie Poltynski, Regional Director, National Grid; and Dr. Steady Moono, President, SUNY Schenectady Photo provided.

SCHENECTADY — SUNY Schenectady will bring education and training in manufacturing and healthcare directly to students and local employers through two mobile units. The college received funding in 2021 to procure two mobile units, “classrooms on wheels” that can travel to partner sites to conveniently provide on-site training for the future workforce. The college has begun the work of building the units and is looking to partner with regional advanced manufacturing companies and healthcare providers to ensure that training and equipment available on the units reflects the “shop floor needs” of industry. SUNY Schenectady has also initiated a funding campaign to develop support for operational expenses of both units. National Grid is the first industry partner to provide funding to support the advanced manufacturing unit with a generous donation of $25,000. 

SUNY Schenectady’s Workforce Development and Community Education Division will use the labs to bring education/training opportunities into the community, providing career-focused learning opportunities in technical, professional and interpersonal competencies to meet the needs of today’s employers.

“Our new mobile classrooms are an exciting avenue for us to bring healthcare and manufacturing education and training wherever it’s needed in our community,” said school President Dr. Steady Moono. “Already, we provide customized training for local employers and now, we can take that a step further by providing focused training on site for students and employers in the Capital Region. We are extremely grateful to National Grid for investing in SUNY Schenectady by funding the advanced manufacturing mobile unit.”

Both units will consist of state-of-the-art classrooms which will seat 12 students, and will be self-powered, climate controlled, and Wi-Fi enabled. The Advanced Manufacturing unit will include an AutoCAD; 3D Printer; Mini-Lathe; Collaborative Robot; Amatrol Skill Boss; Lock Out/Tag Out, and computer workstations. The units will also have modular training equipment that can be swapped out to fit the need of the class being taught.

Through these units, the college will have the capability to offer healthcare training in: phlebotomy; EKG; CPR; leadership; and communication, along with essential healthcare skills; documentation; trauma informed care; healthcare integration; safety/ergonomics for healthcare workers; anatomy and physiology and medical coding; and social determinants of health. Manufacturing workshops and training could include those in: cyber security awareness; customer service suite; leadership in business; and supply chain/logistics.

“As the energy landscape changes we need tools that will bring new ideas and groundbreaking innovation to get us to a more sustainable future,” said Laurie Poltynski, National Grid Regional Director. “This new mobile SUNY Schenectady classroom will support those new ideas and attract the workforce needed to shape the future of energy in the Capital Region and beyond.”

The mobile classrooms, trucks, and equipment will be housed in a garage on the SUNY Schenectady campus. The college expects to begin using the units in Spring 2023.

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