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Chamber Awarded Federal Grant for Strategic Workforce Training

The North Country Chamber of Commerce has received word from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of the award of a $285,600 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission for a program of specialized welding training for the area's advanced manufacturers. 

The total project cost is $306,533. The Chamber will administer the program in collaboration with Clinton Community College's Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Lincoln Electric, a national welding technology provider which recently entered into a partnership with the college. The strategic initiative is designed to address the growing need in the region for specialized welding skills at Alstom and several other area manufacturers. The training is projected to support 30 new manufacturing jobs over the next three years, 50 promotions for employees obtaining new skills, and the retention of 100 jobs. The initiative will be coordinated by NAmTrans, the Chamber's subsidiary dedicated to supporting and growing the North Country's cluster of transportation equipment and related manufacturers.

"As we achieve continued success in growing our region's amazing cluster of transportation equipment manufacturers, the top challenge is meeting their need for enhanced skills," says Garry Douglas, Chamber President. "This funding couldn't come at a better time as we work with Alstom and several other area manufacturers to provide specially trained welders in collaboration with Clinton Community College's Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and other partners such as Lincoln Electric. This would not be possible without the active support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congresswoman Stefanik, as well as support at the state level from Assemblyman Jones and Senator Stec. We presented this proposal to the Senators and Congresswoman in Washington last May and have had active follow-up since then."

Added Douglas, "We were pleased some years ago to work with then Congressman John McHugh to support the creation of the Northern Border Regional Commission to offer flexible funding for such endeavors, and with the continued support of our Washington team, the program is delivering. Onward and upward!"

"This award will go a long way to addressing the need for qualified welders in the region by providing the necessary education through this comprehensive training program," says Scott Sherin, Chief Commercial Officer U.S. at Alstom Group. "We look forward to working with the team at Clinton Community College's Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Lincoln Electric, helping us to meet the demands of the growing rail manufacturing industry. Alstom also offers its gratitude and thanks to all federal and state officials for their on-going support, and also to the North Country Chamber of Commerce for their leadership and valued partnership."

"As a manufacturer, staying competitive and relevant in the ever more diversified and challenging marketplace requires constant upgrading and addition of skills for our companies' flexibility and competence," says Ralph Coon, CEO of Plattco and Chair of the Chamber's Industrial Council. "Plattco applauds and fully supports the efforts of our officials, the Chamber of Commerce, and our community college in securing funding that provides critical training to stay competitive in the fabrication and welding field. This program will offer opportunities to diversify our product offering and manufacturing capability as we set our focus on growth and success in the global market."



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