Columbia-Greene Community College President James Campion spoke the thought of lawmakers in both counties Monday when he professed that the impending construction of a new technology education building represents a turning point for the local economy.
“This building will enable us to add some new programming for the campus. It will enable local students to have access to a facility that’s going to help them enter the construction trades,” Campion told dignitaries at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building.
The Construction Technology building is included in a three-phase $20 million campus capital project, which is part of the college’s effort to gear programming for the new age to get students better jobs in good-paying fields. As Campion, a man of few words, will attest, it’s all about the jobs.
It’s also about a repositioning of education from liberal arts to workplace skills, increasing enrollment and new diversification of curricula. “This is something we have been talking about for the last couple of years,” Greene County Legislator Matt Luvera, R-Catskill, said. “Hopefully, more of our students in Greene County will take advantage of it once it is built.”
The most important part of the project is a year-long certificate program in construction technology including courses in operating equipment used on construction jobs for carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
Refocusing educational goals on a campuswide scale is a tremendous undertaking and a huge risk. For every drop in enrollment, every job lost to another county or another state and every depletion of the Twin Counties labor force, urgency grows. With this in mind, the new Construction Technology building is a smart and responsible project.