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SUNY Poly instructor and partners to use $600K grant for work on community maintenance efforts

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

MARCY, N.Y. — A SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) instructor will use grant funding of $600,000 to help communities with a “variety of challenges,” including workforce development and digital-infrastructure maintenance.

Andrew Russell, dean of SUNY Poly’s College of Arts & Sciences, will use the funding for a two-year-old pilot project. It was launched in collaboration with Lee Vinsel, assistant professor of science, technology & society at Virginia Tech, and Jessica Meyerson, director of research & strategy at the Atlanta, Georgia–based Educopia Institute.

The New York City–based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded the funding.

The nearly $600,000 award will enable group members, who call themselves the “Maintainers,” to expand upon their existing framework that merges academic and community-based research to make a “sustainable and positive impact.” It seeks to do so through broad efforts promoting goals centered on improving “critical” areas of maintenance while simultaneously highlighting the strengths of SUNY Poly’s “intellectual diversity,” the university said.

Andrew Russell, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. (Photo credit: SUNY Polytechnic Institute)

“I see a lot of opportunity to connect the work of the Maintainers with existing workforce-development efforts in the Mohawk Valley, including the engineering technology programs at SUNY Poly and MVCC; and the engineering / technologies trade and technical programs at [Oneida-Herkimer-Madison] BOCES. Our goal under this grant is to support and enhance these workforce development efforts, in part, by highlighting the fact that these kinds of jobs — we think of them as ‘maintenance’ jobs — pay well, provide meaningful work for employees, and play a crucial role in sustaining economic growth in Central New York,” Russell tells CNYBJ in an email.

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