Groups in Berkshires see economic momentum in Obama's Albany visit

Friday May 4, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Community College is one of several regional institutions of higher education that are interested in partnering with the Global Foundries computer chip production facility in Malta, N.Y.

President Barack Obama is visiting University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering on Tuesday, where he will talk about high-tech initiatives, as is happening at the nearby GlobalFoundries plant. The talk was originally planned for GlobalFoundries, but was moved to Albany late Friday for logistical reasons, according to the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union.

The president is expected to deliver a speech on high-tech manufacturing, an area BCC where is focusing its work force training efforts.

William Mulholland, the college's vice president for community education and work force development, plans to be in attendance.

"We haven't done any training" with Global Foundries specifically, Mulholland said. "But we are partnering with them in terms of building an associates degree pathway.

"We've actually taken our tests over there," he said. "We're trying to align our curriculum in support of their technologies."

GlobalFoundries opened its $4.6 billion computer chip production facility in Malta earlier this year.

Pittsfield and North Adams are both located within a 60-mile radius of Malta, which is just south of Saratoga.

1Berkshire President and CEO Stuart Chase believes it's important for the county to stay in contact with GlobalFoundries because the company has indicated that it intends to look within its geographic area for its work force needs.

Obama is expected to speak on the economy and how the government and the private sector can work together with academic institutions to spur the growth of manufacturing in the United States, according to the Albany Times Union.

It was unclear on Friday whether Obama's speech would reference cross-border opportunities between Massachusetts and New York. Whitney Smith, a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., said her office didn't know the context of Obama's speech.

This will be Obama's third visit to New York's Capital Region since he took office. He visited Hudson Valley Community College in Troy in 2009 and General Electric's turbine plant in Schenectady last year.

The Capital Region is expected to be leading contender for one of Obama's new manufacturing sites, according to the Times Union. Like BCC, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Albany are interested in partnering with GlobalFoundries.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:,
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