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OCC signs partnership agreement, offers manufacturing certificate

By Eric Reinhardt


ONONDAGA — Onondaga Community College (OCC) and Cazenovia College on July 22 signed a “2+2” partnership agreement.

The pact allows students at OCC who earn an associate degree to continue their education and pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at Cazenovia.

OCC president Casey Crabill and Cazenovia College president Mark Tierno signed the agreement in a ceremony in OCC’s Whitney Applied Technology Center.

The accord covers 13 degree programs at OCC, including business administration, interior design, and photography, OCC said in a news release.

The agreement also covers 26 degree programs at Cazenovia College including criminal justice, human services, studio art, visual communications, interior design and management programs.

Cazenovia College presented some factors that were “very compelling” for this type of partnership, Crabill said in speaking with reporters following the ceremony.

“We had students who had made successful transitions there … We know that [Cazenovia officials] understood the associate degree,” said Crabill.

And in initial discussions, Tierno says he mentioned to Crabill his awareness that students who earn associate degrees are more likely to complete the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

“And that is supported in the national research, but you don’t always meet four-year presidents who know that,” Crabill said.

With the partnership, both schools are providing a “clear path” to a “cost effective” approach to earning a bachelor’s degree, Tierno said in his remarks at the morning ceremony.

“That kind of efficacy is very important to students and families in today’s … challenging economy,” said Tierno.

Students enrolled in the 2+2 partnership will receive academic advising from both OCC and Cazenovia College throughout the program.

With the signing, OCC now has 2+2 agreements with seven schools:

Besides Cazenovia College, OCC also has partnerships with Syracuse University; Le Moyne College; the University at Buffalo; the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Technology at Alfred; St. John Fisher College, and SUNY Potsdam.

Cazenovia College has similar agreements with Mohawk Valley Community College, Herkimer College, Monroe Community College, and Hudson Valley Community College, according to the OCC news release.

OCC announced the program in a news release distributed June 25.

The program is designed to provide students the skills necessary for employment in the machining industry, including the coursework and hands-on skills necessary to enter the workforce, OCC said in a news release.

The community college will offer the certificate program beginning in the fall 2014 semester.

OCC, citing Manufacturers Association of New York (or MACNY) information, said the program is needed because area manufacturers find it challenging to recruit the skilled labor necessary to handle “sophisticated” production processes and tasks required in a manufacturing plant.

Students who successfully complete the advanced manufacturing-machining certificate program will have the skills necessary to apply for positions such as machinists and apprentices, machine operators, tool and die makers, machine setters, and tool grinders.

The school conducted research on the region’s manufacturers and partnered with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York to see if an educational program might help reduce the “skills gap,” said Casey Crabill, OCC president.

Crabill spoke with the Business Journal News Network following the 2+2 announcement with Cazenovia College.

“And so, out of that came this one year, hands on, certificate in machining. It’s essentially employer-designed, if you will, but because it’s a college-credit certificate, we’re able to offer it to a broad range of people in an affordable way, so that people who are interested in the jobs that our local manufacturers have, now have a clear route to train and to become valuable in that market,” said Crabill.

OCC created the program as part of a statewide consortium focused on helping people who have lost their jobs or may lose them because of foreign trade.

The efforts are part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants (TAACCCT) program.

The department awarded OCC $1.2 million for equipment and curriculum development focused on manufacturing areas.

Displaced workers and unemployed veterans are eligible for the program tuition free, pending verification of their qualifications.

For students entering the program with real-world experience, a learning assessment taken in advance may reward credit for years worked in a machine shop, OCC said.

The OCC certificate program represents the State University of New York’s (SUNY) first new program developed with TAACCCT funds, Nancy Zimpher, SUNY Chancellor, said in the OCC news release.

“SUNY’s 30 community colleges are workforce development engines for all of New York, and we are proud to be preparing thousands of students for careers in advanced manufacturing and technology as a result of the TAACCCT program,” said Zimpher.

Students who earn the advanced manufacturing-machining certificate may also apply the credits to the mechanical-technology degree program at OCC, the school said.

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