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SUNY Canton gets $100K through “High Needs.”

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CANTON — Making strides in the realm of environmental technology, SUNY Canton is on the receiving end of more than $100,000.

As a part of an effort by the state to train students in “high need fields,” Canton joined the ranks of 35 other campuses receiving more than $12 million in funding.

“The High Needs Program and others like it are helping fulfill SUNY’s original purpose: to be world class institutions that foster cutting edge innovation and train the next generation of high tech workers,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a release. “SUNY is leading the way in the workforce training that is tailored to the jobs of tomorrow.”

The High Needs Program awarded $100,216 to Canton to construct a new Environmental Tech Lab in the campus’s Nevaldine Technology Center.

Occupations are considered high-need if they are projected to have a large number of total openings, a high growth rate or a combination of both in the coming years, based on state Department of Labor data.

The six statewide high-needs areas the program is focused on are engineering-engineering technologies, health care, renewable-clean energy, biomedical-biotechnical, agriculture-agriculture business, and information technology.

Adrienne C. Rygel, an associate professor in the civil and environmental technology program, said her excitement over the development of the new lab is immeasurable.

“We have an environmental, earth and technology lab that will be renovated and be fitted with a water and wastewater quality and treatment component.” Ms. Rygel said.

Currently the lab is a geo tech lab, and Ms. Rygel said it will be rehabilitated, creating a more modernized environmental technological and geo technical lab.

“The benefits are, first off, to the students in the civil and environmental technology bachelors of technology program,” she said. “They will get the hands-on and industry experience using modern technology in order to prepare them for the outside world, making them familiar with procedures making them competitors in their field.”

By making those students more competitive, the school, in turn, becomes more competitive, another benefit, Ms. Rygel said.

Other community outreach programs that are being focused on through the new lab include the correlation with SUNY’s initiative to incorporate secondary education into a college environment, as Ms. Rygel said she would like to implement outreach programs for local middle and high schools, especially in the fields of environmental science, and provide an opportunity to develop a continuing education program for wastewater treatment plant operators for local municipalities, who are required to maintain practices and continually update their certification.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am. I have been dreaming about this since we started the four-year program,” Ms. Rygel said. “So there are a lot of options. I’ve been waiting for this facility. It’s just going to open up so many opportunities.”

The construction of the new lab is expected to begin over the summer and be completed in time for the start of the fall semester.

Every SUNY campus was eligible for funding as part of the High Needs Program. The number and amount of awards given is based on the quantity, quality and scope of applications received, and varies from $21,000 to more than $500,000 per project over three years.

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