TOWN OF ULSTER >> Ulster County Community College is one of eight schools in the SUNY system selected to participate in Start-Up NY, a tax-exempt economic development program designed to link colleges in the state with businesses.
UCCC will use 168,000 square feet in a building at TechCity in the town of Ulster to train students for careers, college president Donald Katt said on Tuesday.
“I’ve been meeting with prospective business partners,” Katt said in a phone interview. “I’ve met with about a dozen, and I think two of them are really ready to go, and we’re setting up a meeting for the first person who has submitted an application to us to become a partner.
Katt did not identify any of the prospective business partners.
The program, unveiled last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, provides participating businesses with exemptions from state business taxes, sales taxes and personal income taxes.
Katt said the relationship between UCCC students and business owners can include paid and unpaid internships, business assistance for students and company representatives visit classes.
“That will be a huge advantage to our students to actually spend time in the business in whatever area the business might be operating in,” he said.
“We would ask that the principals of the business perhaps consider joining our curriculum advisory council to make sure our curriculum is … up to current standards,” Katt said. “We might ask the principals of the company to be guest speakers in our classrooms.”
Katt the program also gives business owners incentives to address areas that need employment growth.
As for using space at TechCity rather than on UCCC’s Stone Ridge campus, Katt said: “Initially, when they started talking about this in the governor’s office, they had businesses locating in vacant space on SUNY campuses. Then they realized, especially in the community colleges … there isn’t any room. Between 9 (a.m.) and 2 (p.m.), there isn’t a vacant room on this campus.”
TechCity officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, but property owner Alan Ginsberg, in a press release, spoke highly of the Start-Up New York program and UCCC’s participation.
“The Hudson Valley can be a center of economic growth in the future, and we’re proud to be working with Ulster County Community College as they move forward in the Start-Up New York program,” Ginsberg said. “We believe the manufacturing, technology and entrepreneurship efforts that Start-Up New York is focused on can enliven the economy.”
The other seven SUNY-connected schools selected to participate in Start-Up New York, according to the Times Union of Albany, are SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Downstate (in Brooklyn), Monroe Community College (Rochester), Onondaga Community College (Syracuse) and the state-run portion of Cornell University
TechCity, which was an IBM plant from the 1950s until the mid-1990s, has contaminations problems left by the computer giant, but a map included with a state Department of Environmental Conservation cleanup order shows no problems related to the property’s Building 052, which UCCC is to use for the Start-Up NY program. The building is at the northeast corner of the sprawling TechCity campus.
Ginsberg bought the property from IBM in 1998, 20 years after IBM discovered the contamination. IBM is responsible for the cleanup.
Katt said he is confident that contamination issues have been addressed by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“The seem to have a remediation plan that’s much better and faster than what IBM had been proposing,” he said.