Despite the chill and threatened rain of a June day, attendees at the celebratory groundbreaking for the new Construction Workforce Development Center on the School of Applied Technology campus of Alfred State College, attendees received a warm welcome from Dr. John M. Anderson, college president, as well as other members of the college community involved in bringing the project to fruition. Anderson, clearly delighted at the great turnout, noted: "I am very happy to celebrate the beginning of the new Construction Workforce Development Center on our Applied Technology Campus. This project was made possible by donations from the Alfred State Educational Foundation, Inc., which owns the campus; a federal HUD grant sponsored by Congressman John "Randy" Kuhl, Jr., (R-Hammondsport); an Empire State Development grant sponsored by NYS Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean; and many private donations including The LC Whitford Co., Wellsville; AL Blades & Sons, Hornell; Otis Eastern Service, Inc., Wellsville; LeChase Construction, Rochester, and the Builders Exchange of Rochester.
"This new initiative will allow us to increase economic development opportunities through job creation in Western New York. The need for construction workers is well documented, with nearly one million new construction jobs projected by 2012, an increase of 15 percent. The construction industry is one of the top 10 largest sources of job growth in the United States.
"We thank all of our supporters for their belief in the value that Alfred State College has for the region."
Craig Clark, executive director of the Wellsville campus, and dean of the School of Applied Technology, also remarked that the "center will house the Building Trades Department-an area that truly ‘builds futures.'"
Students enrolled in the building trades curriculums work in structured laboratories and on live projects. "These live projects are what set the learning experience at Wellsville apart from other colleges. The building trades programs are known for the beautiful homes they construct in Wellsville through the Educational Foundation. Additionally, the building trades programs conduct five or six community projects each year, allowing local not-for-profits to complete projects for only the cost of materials.
"Our philosophy of learning by doing is at the core of what makes the School of Applied Technology a unique learning environment: it helps our graduates become work ready and able to ‘hit the ground running®.'"
Other speakers included James Locker, chair of the Educational Foundation, who thanked all those responsible for bringing us to the first phase of the project, and reminded them, as well, that this is only the beginning.
Finally, Chuck Armbruster, ASC class of 1979, project manager for LeChase Construction Services, LLC, Rochester, the company building the Center, congratulated the college on its persistence in seeing an ideal become a reality.