Leading Schools Series: Clinton Community College Pioneers New Models for the Industrial Arts


Clinton Community College, a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, isn’t a traditional community college. Located just outside of Plattsburgh, New York and overlooking Lake Champlain, the school is redefining what it means to be a community college.

In the fall of 2017, the school opened up its Institute for Advanced Manufacturing, a 30,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility that serves as a regional hub for all-things manufacturing. The space provides hands-on training for high-school students interested in the trades, workers looking to advance their careers, and employers seeking to train their workforce.

“The program’s philosophy is to support larger systematic economic growth across a large and diverse region of New York State by using a local model that has the ability to be easily replicated by similar communities,” the school says.

One of the ways it supports regional economic growth is through its involvement in the Start Up NY program, which offers new and expanding businesses the opportunity to operate tax-free for up to 10 years on or near campus. Prelco, a Quebec-based manufacturer, was the first company to participate in the program.

Clinton Community College offers six degrees in the technology and manufacturing fields, including a mechanical technology degree and an industrial/commercial electrician degree, which allows students to complete most of their courses outside the classroom.

“All of our technology degrees feature hands-on training, but this approach mirrors a more traditional apprenticeship program,” President Ray DiPasquale explained.

Through a partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), students can apply their thousands of hours of on-the-job training to their degrees. Specifically, students who complete the IBEW Journeyman Electrician training satisfy 51 credits towards their degrees.

“This will be a big stepping stone for those students who think they aren’t interested in attending college,” said IBEW Training Director Alan Smith. “Now they can earn a degree while doing what they love—working with their hands. Our Journeymen complete over 8,000 hours of training—it is very nice that they can earn a degree for that learning. Colleges and apprenticeships working together, like this, will help build the future of skilled labor.”

The college offers a number of programs for high-school students, such as its ADK P-TECH program. Students enter the program in ninth grade and obtain an associate’s degree from Clinton Community College by the time they graduate from high school.

They also offer a summer academy at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing for students in grades 9-12. The week-long summer program includes sessions on “3D printing, robotics, using hand tools, crimp and torque techniques, safety skills, and virtual welding.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Clinton Community College” by Clinton Community College. 







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