SUNY JCC: Proper emphasis with area workforce

Daniel DeMarte, Jamestown Community College president, is on the mark when it comes to a focus on workforce development at the college.

Declining enrollment has been an issue for the college, with greater competition among SUNY schools for the students that used to start their college careers at JCC. That competition for students has led to JCC trying to entice students from outside the county to attend college in Jamestown with new degree programs and extracurricular offerings.

For the past three years the college has been focusing on workforce development. That focus won’t attract many traditional college-age students, but it could fill a gaping void in a county that has a lot of unfilled jobs as workers retire and no one is ready to take their place.

JCC has trained more than 300 people in water treatment as well as training programs in machining and industrial technology. Instead of a two-year, four-semester commitment, the machining and industrial technology courses were between 10 and 12 weeks long — and paid nearly immediate dividends.

“All of them finished,” he said. “All of them had jobs paying $18-$19 an hour, which reinforces the point that not everybody needs a college degree. That’s the kind of thing we’re beginning to see success with and we need to do more of in the workforce area.”

DeMarte is right, of course. JCC is positioned to fill a niche that can help employers and people who want to boost their earning power. DeMarte’s efforts to offer more training programs is an effort that deserves support from state and federal funders — and are efforts area residents should take advantage of.


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