Workforce development is a priority for MVCC’s AIM

Mohawk Valley Community College’s Advanced Institute (AIM) took students from Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES to visit advanced manufacturing companies in the area, including Danfoss, Indium Corp., and Wolfspeed (pictured here). (Photo credit: AIM)

UTICA — The Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) provides many services to manufacturing businesses as a New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center within the six-county Mohawk Valley region.

“We are one of 11 MEP centers located in New York State,” says AIM Director Corey Albrecht. The institute serves Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida and Schoharie counties as a centralized access point for product and technology assistance. “Our mission is to support small and medium-sized manufacturers in the Mohawk Valley region, helping them grow their businesses and become more profitable,” he noted.

Some of the programming topics AIM covers to help those businesses include lean manufacturing, Lean Six Sigma, cybersecurity, risk assessment and training, and quality management systems.

“We have a pretty comprehensive program for mid-level managers and supervisors,” Albrecht argued.

AIM in conjunction with MVCC also offers a number of technical trainings in areas such as welding, CNC machining, mechanical, electrical and HVAC. As the only MEP located at a community college, AIM is able to access credit programming on the college side and deliver that training to the manufacturer’s door, notes Albrecht. In this way, AIM helped companies like Oriskany Manufacturing and Bartell Machinery Systems, both of which needed qualified welders.

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Businesses struggle because that trained workforce doesn’t really exist, Albrecht says. “These companies are really forced to change the way they think and change their approach to workforce development.” Working with AIM is one way companies can get workers the training they need to fill those roles, he says.

To provide information and promote general interest in high-tech manufacturing jobs, the Advanced Institute (AIM) recently made virtual-reality headsets available to technology students at the Rome Free Academy. The headsets show wearers what it’s like to work in a variety of manufacturing jobs at companies like Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. and FX Matt Brewing Co. (photo credit: AIM).

While AIM offers an ongoing mix of programming, Albrecht says the institute works hard to provide companies with what they need. “Every business we go to, they ask us for workers,” he says, so workforce development remains a key area of ​​programming.


In this regard, AIM is collaborating closely with school districts in the region to promote employment in manufacturing. Locally, this may include jobs at Wolfspeed, Danfoss, and Indium Corporation.

AIM has arranged trips for local high-school counselors, principals, and superintendents to visit those companies and learn first-hand the types of jobs available.

“We have to educate them and raise awareness of what the Mohawk Valley region needs,” says Albrecht.

AIM recently visited Rome Free Academy with FuzeHub and Expert Project to give a workforce presentation to over 100 technology students. AIM also gifted the school virtual reality (VR) headsets and a no-cost license for career-exploration programming. Albrecht says AIM has acquired Fiber Instrument Sales Inc. and FX Matt Brewing Co. Was able to make videos about what it’s like to work at local manufacturing companies like Students can explore jobs such as welders, machinists, quality engineers and more with VR headsets.

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It’s all about providing information and breaking down barriers that prevent people from pursuing manufacturing jobs, Albrecht says. For many, the perception of construction work is likely to be significantly removed from reality, he notes. Rather than a low-paid job in a dirty factory, the reality in many manufacturing locations today is very different. “You wouldn’t believe what these advanced-manufacturing jobs pay,” he says.

New York state currently has more than 9,500 construction jobs posted on, Albrecht says, and the average annual manufacturing compensation in the state is $80,394.

AIM is able to help almost any manufacturing business, specializing in microelectronics and semiconductors, food and beverage, metals and wood, and distribution.


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