2.1 million dollar grant expands tech opportunities

Pat Gareau

Editor-in-Chief

The Capital Region is growing as a global center for nanotechnology, and Hudson Valley is in on the action.

The Northeastern Advanced Technology Education Center (NEATEC), located at Hudson Valley, received a $2.1 million three-year grant this year from the National Science Foundation.

“The main purpose is to create educational materials and training for nanotech and semiconductor manufacturing,” said Abraham Michelen, executive director and principal investigator of NEATEC.

Hudson Valley was first given a grant in 2007 to plan the center, said Michelen. It then received about $3 million for four years in 2010. It is one of about 40 advanced technological education centers in the country, which are an initiative of the NSF.

“Ours is one of the very few in nanotechnology and semiconductors across the country,” said  Michelen.

NEATEC creates educational modules for K-12 schools, facilitates workshops for advanced manufacturing, and helps students find internships and job shadowing experiences at technology companies.

“For the school, it brings a lot of acknowledgement that the school is a high-tech center,” said Michelen.

Nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing have taken root in the local area, with the most notable examples being the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany and Global Foundries in Malta. NEATEC has partnered with both of them, as well as RPI and Mohawk Community College among others, to continue developing the workforce needed to support these industries.

“Companies like Global Foundries are looking for hundreds and hundreds of technicians,” said Michelen.

In addition to the more than 600 job openings at Global Foundries, there are more than 1,000 total jobs available at tech firms throughout the region.

NEATEC allows Hudson Valley students to benefit from using advanced equipment bought with grant money and have access to internships from the program.

The college also benefits financially from the center. NEATEC has contracts with Global Foundries to facilitate job training workshops. They recently finished a set of workshops that Global Foundries paid $156,000 for. According to Michelen, the college receives about $100,000 per year from the lab, which comes from a share of revenue for NEATEC.

Hudson Valley faculty members also benefit from the close proximity to workshops hosted by NEATEC that aim to improve educators’ skills in rapidly advancing technologies. The center serves not only the Capital Region, but develops nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing education throughout New York and New England.

Michelen, who is also a professor in the automotive, manufacturing, and electrical engineering department, believes that NEATEC will continue to be funded at Hudson Valley for some time to come. Its presence will continue to provide opportunities to students on campus. “Because the center is here, helping out students is a top priority,” he said.

 

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