Schenectady County Community College, established in 1967, is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. SCCC provides quality, affordable, comprehensive education for transfer, careers, training and workforce development to a diverse population. It offers a wide range of transfer degree, career degree and certificate programs in a wide range of technical, business and liberal arts fields.
Among the certificate programs at SCCC is the Storage Battery Technology program. This program was developed to produce qualified technicians for GE’s new sodium halide storage battery plant in Schenectady. At full capacity, GE will have a need for 350 technicians to work in this facility that builds sodium metal halide batteries needed for emerging renewable energy technologies. In April 2010, GE presented SCCC officials with a $50,000 grant in support of the institution’s emerging efforts in advanced battery technologies and alternative energy. The funds were used to support the acquisition of equipment and other resources for the new initiatives.
The program provides students with a foundation in battery technology, electric circuits, fuel storage principles and mathematics. The mission of the Storage Battery Certificate Program is to educate students in how storage batteries generate electricity, in designing and troubleshooting electrical circuits, in applying computers and digital systems in the context of programmable logic controllers, in the concepts of elements of lean manufacturing systems, and in the understanding of materials used in the manufacture of storage batteries.
According to Tim Baechle, Manufacturing Leader for GE Energy Storage, "Energy storage development and manufacturing require a variety of specialized skill sets that are not widely available. GE is excited to work with SCCC to develop the knowledge and skill sets needed in our community for next generation energy storage technology.”
While GE is the partner in the Storage Battery Program, many other companies represent prospective employers for SCCC graduates. Towards this end, SCCC also offers an Alternative Energy Technology A.A.S. program with a Storage Battery and Fuel Cell focus area. Students who participate in the Storage Battery Technology Certificate Program who elect to continue their studies in that program are able to pursue the A.A.S. degree with no loss of credit.
According to Quintin Bullock, President of SCCC: "SCCC is adapting to changing needs in the workforce. We worked closely with General Electric Energy to develop a new Storage Battery Technology certificate program with graduates of the program becoming qualified technicians for GE’s new sodium storage battery plant adjacent to our campus. GE presented us with a generous $50,000 grant to help seed the program. Along with our Alternative Energy Technology and Nanotech programs, these high-demand areas of study have also led to a partnership with nanotechnology giant Global Foundries and immediate, high-tech employment for many of our students upon graduation from SCCC."
As a fully accredited community college, SCCC’s degree transfer program enables students to complete two years of study for a bachelor’s degree and then transfer to a four-year college. Its career degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment following the completion of the programs. Taken together, these programs represent a crucial resource to the community and to the region at large.