October 13 2023

Capital Region STEM Degrees Awarded at Steady Pace

The Capital Region’s pace of STEM degree awards remained stable in 2022, but local colleges and universities’ total degree output continued to decline, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Total and STEM Degree Awards

In 2022, the Capital Region’s traditional colleges and universities awarded 13,615 degrees across all fields and 3,778 in STEM fields. Added to that were 7,398 total degrees awards at the region’s two distance-learning institutions (Excelsior University and Empire State University), which also awarded 782 degrees in STEM fields.

Compared to the previous year, traditional institutions’ number of total degrees was down 5.2 percent and their STEM degrees were down 1.5 percent. Nearly two-thirds (60.0 percent) of the traditional institutions’ decline in total degrees was attributable to the region’s four SUNY community colleges. During the same period, distance-learning institutions’ total degree awards declined by 14.6 percent and their STEM degrees increased by 3.2 percent.

STEM Fields

Within the STEM fields, degree awards at traditional institutions increased in physical sciences (4.5 percent), biological and biomedical sciences (3.9 percent), computer and information sciences and support services (2.8 percent), and mathematics and statistics (1.1 percent). STEM degree awards declined in engineering technologies/technicians (-15.6 percent), engineering (-6.5 percent), and mechanic repair and technologies (-19.0 percent).

STEM-Related Healthcare Fields

In addition to the STEM degrees, the region’s traditional institutions awarded 2,004 degrees in health professions and related programs, up 3.2 percent from the previous year. Healthcare-oriented-institutions with sizeable year-over-year increases in degree awards included the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (24.7 percent), Albany Medical College (12.2 percent), Belanger School of Nursing (18.4 percent), and Maria College (11.8 percent).

In 2022, the region had 24 degree-awarding institutions, 17 of which with STEM degree programs. With the recent merger of the University at Albany and SUNY Polytechnic’s College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering, the region now has 23 degree-awarding institutions.

CEG Initiatives

CEG last year assisted the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) prepare its Annual Report and Regional Workforce Inventory and Healthcare Industry Workforce Development Report In these reports, the CREDC identified in-demand skills and high-growth occupations within the the following sectors: healthcare, tech and electronics, biotech and life sciences, software/digital gaming, and cleantech/offshore wind.

CEG is also helping Capital Region manufacturers and software firms skill-up workers through several apprenticeship programs for the following trades:

  • Brewer/Distiller
  • Cloud Engineer
  • CNC Machinist
  • Computer Support Technician
  • Data Analyst
  • Electro-Mechanical Technician
  • Industrial Manufacturing Technician
  • Machinist
  • Welder (Industrial)

Another CEG initiative is a Multi-Craft Apprenticeship Preparation Program (MAPP) training program in Albany’s South End. Sunrise Wind (Ørsted+Eversource Energy) committed $300,000 to CEG to fund union construction training for clean energy careers. 

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