Yolanda Simonsis is a 38-year veteran of the packaging and converting industries. She has held past editorial positions with two former publications of Delta Communications and Cahners...more

Online Courses for Radiation Curing Applications in NY

Politics aside, I couldn't help connecting the dots the other night regarding something President Obama said during his State of the Union address and a recent announcement I received regarding the endeavors of State Univ. of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

Back in the President's 2013 SOTU address, he asked:

“Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

Now in 2014, the President offered:

"I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: Train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs."

Politics aside once again, SUNY-ESF has risen to the occasion with a new online Radiation Curing Program (RCP) that will provide specialized training to address workforce shortages in the field of radiation curing for both ultraviolet light (UV) and electron beam (EB) processing.

The RCP at SUNY-ESF meets the challenges New York state is encountering. A university announcement notes a recent New York State Dept. of Labor statistic: "The workforce shortage in radiation curing exists despite the fact that nearly 1,000 chemists with bachelor's degrees were seeking employment in New York state." The university "aims to address this disconnect by providing specific job skills for individuals seeking careers in related fields, practicing industry professionals, upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates."

Kudos to SUNY-ESF for being proactive! Even RadTech Intl. North America is involved as a collaborator along with CenterState Corp. for Economic Opportunity; the Mfrs. Assn. of Central New York (MACNY); and other organizations. As well, the program is supported in part by a US Dept. of Labor, Employment and Training Administration H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant.

Program Composition

Here's how the program is comprised: It incorporates three online courses and an Advanced Certificate with curriculum jointly developed by a team of academic and experienced industry practitioners to reflect current and emerging applications.

The three RCP course offerings in Spring 2014 are:

  • Introduction to Polymer Coatings (Feb. 3–April 18)
  • Radiation Curing of Polymer Technologies (Feb. 17–May 2)
  • Radiation Curing Equipment, Instrumentation and Safety (Feb. 17–April 18)

The online approach is designed to be user-friendly, flexible and convenient, according to an SUNY-ESF announcement. Support and facilitation reportedly are provided by an experienced team of instructors and support staff. Central New York participants will have additional opportunities for course-related demonstrations and site visits to the UV/EB Process Curing Systems Technology Ctr. on the SUNY-ESF campus and the laboratory at Rapid Cure Technologies, a formulator and manufacturer of environmentally friendly rapid-cure chemistries and processes based in Syracuse.

It should be noted that one of the collaborators on this project, RadTech Intl., will hold its annual expo and conference event on May 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont (Chicago), IL.

I applaud SUNY-ESF and RadTech Intl. for their constructive efforts and involvement. What's your state doing to match jobs to people with appropriate skills?

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