June 21, 2011 — Fulton-Montgomery Community College received a total of $935,000 in federal funding to support the Center for Engineering and Technology (CTE). This funding will contribute to an existing strong foundation of science, technology and mathematics curriculum at FM to create the Center.
The Center is not an actual building, rather the Center represents a collaboration of science and technical programs ranging from automotive technology to engineering science. There are physical manifestations of the Center in the form of laboratories, classrooms and equipment. The majority of the current federal funding associated with the Center is dedicated to the construction of a demonstration clean room, an automated manufacturing lab and associated equipment such as an atomic force microscope. The initial efforts establish the infrastructure to support not only technical training for industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, but also enhance instruction in the basic sciences. While many of the Center programs are located on the lowest level of the Classroom Buildings, the Center also exists in laboratories throughout the campus. Future funding will continue the upgrade of existing facilities and equipment acquisition as well as enhance Center staffing.
The Center also represents a collaboration of existing faculty members and programs with a goal of supporting curriculum designed to produce graduates prepared to enter today’s workforce. Current students engaged in Center programs such as Electrical Technology are exposed to the latest developments in nanoscale technology through field experiences at the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. This semester, current students will learn the protocols of working in clean rooms as well as how to maintain the mechanical systems associated with those environments. Students in Biology will have hands-on experience utilizing a scanning electron microscope to exam specimens at nanoscale levels. Engineering Science students will have access to the hardware, software and tools to take a project all the way through from the design, the test and the build phases. Future plans include a focus on alternate energy throughout the science and technical programs, including construction technology and automotive technology. Distributed computing environments are also in development. The Center is essentially a resource which supports existing curriculum and fosters the development of new courses and programs.
The Center is designed to be responsive to the needs of the region. Current projections for the Global Foundries chip fabrication facility in neighboring Malta are for 940-1,000 associates degree-level technicians. With an anticipated opening of 2012, students entering FM this semester will graduate with appropriate educational experiences utilizing clean rooms and automated manufacturing systems at an opportune moment. That stated, the Center’s focus is not and will not solely be on semiconductor manufacturing, rather faculty members will capitalize on the available resources to adapt to the varied employment needs of the region.
FM has been extraordinarily fortunate to have supportive legislators who have provided the financial support to establish the Center for Engineering and Technology, from former Congressman Michael McNulty, to current Congressman Paul Tonko, Senator Charles Schumer, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Their combined efforts enable FM to support its mission to serve as Fulton and Montgomery Counties’ partner for economic development.