Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing for federal grants to create a new training program to ease the shortage of high-skilled jobs in central New York.
If the $15 million federal grant comes through, Onondaga Community College will be able to partner with local businesses and place graduates in a job and train local residents in the growing field of mechatronics.
Mechatronics requires students to be skilled in engineering, mechanics, electronics and other technical skills. Potential jobs in the field range from maintenance and repair workers, to industrial machinery mechanics.
Randy Wolken, president of the Manufacturing Association of Central New York, says there’s a shortage of workers for the jobs that require knowledge on a combination of electrical, mechanical, computer and industrial engineering.
The shortage is due to the highly technical nature of these jobs, according to Schumer.
“The type of machinery that people use is more sophisticated; the types of processing and making things is more sophisticated so it takes a higher skill level,” Schumer said. “In the past, you only needed a high school education or even less for most of these jobs. Now, you need a lot more.”
Schumer says it’s projected that 13,000 mechatronic jobs will be created in upstate New York and that more than 2,000 of these jobs could be created in central New York by 2020.
“Mechatronics, these kinds of skills, are expected to create 2,800 good paying jobs in central New York this decade; many of them right here in Syracuse,” Schumer said.