U.S. Secretary of Labor Visits Monroe Community College

Highlights $14.6 million grant awarded to SUNY community colleges

Rochester – U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today visited Monroe Community College’s Applied Technologies Center to celebrate and highlight a $14.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to a consortium of State University of New York community colleges.

PIC1 Coordinator _Kress_Solis_Student PM.jpg

Secretary Solis was hosted by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and MCC President Anne M. Kress. Community leaders in business development and advanced manufacturing, as well as elected officials, also took part in the visit.

“This federal support will help grow SUNY’s already powerful capacity to prepare students for careers in high-tech and advanced manufacturing fields where there is such a high demand in New York and across the country,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Secretary Solis’ visit to Monroe highlights SUNY’s potential to bring these innovative solutions to scale across the state. I applaud our congressional delegation for working so diligently in securing these funds and for their continued partnership and recognition of SUNY’s ability to drive economic development and job growth across New York.”

“Monroe Community College is proud to lead this initiative coordinating all 30 SUNY community colleges in preparing more New Yorkers for viable advanced manufacturing careers,” said Kress. “This investment by the U.S. Department of Labor in our system will help us develop innovative educational programming along career pathways so that individuals can find good jobs today and even better careers tomorrow.”

The grant, issued as part of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program, will allow the consortium of all SUNY community colleges to design, implement, and deliver a strategic approach to job training and education for high-need industries such as nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

Manufacturing in the Rochester region is alive and growing, said Jim Sydor, president and owner of Sydor Optics. His company manufactures precision optics for industries such as defense, entertainment and life sciences. “We are very busy. The lack of qualified advanced manufacturing workers is preventing some RRPC members from growing,” Sydor said.

“By maximizing the collective power of the system of community colleges, nearly 3,000 displaced workers will return to high-wage, 21st century advanced manufacturing jobs,” said Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline. “This represents yet another avenue for our extensive network of industry partners to work with us in strengthening our state and local economies by creating jobs and hiring right here in New York.”

The grant is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.

Those who participated in today’s event include (* denotes speaker):


  • Hilda L. Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor *
  • Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor, State University of New York *
  • Anne M. Kress, President, Monroe Community College *
  • Todd Oldham, Vice President, Economic Development and Innovative Workforce Services, Monroe Community College
  • Javier Ayala, Dean, Career Technical Education, Monroe Community College
  • Jim Sydor, President and Owner, Sydor Optics *
  • Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline, Statue University of New York
  • Michael Frame, Director of Federal Relations, State University of New York
  • Diane Cecero, General Counsel/Government Relations, Monroe Community College
  • David Dahrsnin, student, Monroe Community College

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