July 18 2018

Capital Region STEM Degree Awards up 10% in 2017

The talent pipeline for the Capital Region’s technology sector continued to expand in 2017, with traditional colleges and universities throughout the eight counties seeing a 10.3 percent year-over-year increase in STEM degrees awarded, according to a Center for Economic Growth Analysis of new data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Database System (IPEDS).

Not including health-related fields, 17 Capital Region colleges and universities last year awarded 3,796 degrees from the associate’s to doctor’s levels in eight major STEM fields1. Additionally, the two distance-learning institutions based in the region2 awarded 882 STEM degrees in 2017, up 7.4 percent from the previous year.

The fastest-growing fields for annual STEM degree awards were computer and information sciences and support services (33.2 percent), engineering (9.6 percent) and engineering technologies and engineering-related fields (9 percent). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Albany experienced 13.3 percent and 12.1 percent year-over-year increases in STEM degrees awards, respectively. Together they awarded 2,470 STEM degrees, or 65 percent of all such degrees awarded at local traditional institutions.

CEG Prepares the Pipeline

CEG, in collaboration with partners in industry and education, is working to further expand the Capital Region’s STEM talent pipeline. CEG’s activities on this front include:

• Surveying Capital Region manufacturers to identify a common set of skills necessary for entry-level employment within the manufacturing sector.
• Using its 2017 Advanced Manufacturing Pathways Project study findings to help Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) launch last January a manufacturing boot camp that prepares unemployed and underemployed workers for entry-level manufacturing positions.
• Securing $250,000 from the KeyBank Foundation to support the continuation of HVCC’s Manufacturing Technology Pathways boot camp and the launch of a Certified Production Technician (CPT) program at SUNY Schenectady County Community College (SUNY SCCC).
• Applying strategies identified in its 2017 Advanced Manufacturing Pathways Project study to market the HVCC and SUNY SCCC training programs, with the goal of having 25 percent of their enrollees hail from low- to moderate-income households.
• Partnering with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) to create a Capital Region Manufacturing Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP), under which CEG will handle many of the administrative duties associated with hosting apprentices, affording manufacturers the opportunity to skill up incumbent workers.
• Hosting events such as Girls in STEM to pique young girls’ interests in STEM careers.

The Pathways, CPT and MIAP indicatives can each result in the accrual of credit toward an associate’s degree. The skills students acquire through these programs are vital for “new collar” jobs, which ZipRecruiter defines as “jobs that require vocational, tech, or skills-based training, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree from a university.” ZipRecruiter recently ranked the Glens Falls metropolitan statistical area (MSA) as the nation’s fourth best job market for new collar jobs.

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1 STEM fields include: Computer and Information Sciences, Engineering, Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related Fields, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Science Technologies/Technicians, Mechanics and Repair Technologies/Technicians and Mathematics and Statistics.

2 Excelsior College and SUNY Empire State College.

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