Senator Thomas P. Morahan today announced a major $1.3 million dollar investment in Rockland Community College’s capacity to train professionals for disaster preparedness. The funding is part of a new $4 million initiative to create the new Hudson Valley Domestic Preparedness Community College Consortium at SUNY Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan Community Colleges obtained by Senators Morahan, John J. Bonacic (42nd District) and William J. Larkin Jr. (39th District) in the 2006-2007 State budget.
The Consortium will allow students throughout the Hudson Valley to take classes on the campuses of Rockland, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties and receive degrees in fire protection technology, emergency management, emergency medical services, cyber security, or basic police training, in addition to nursing programs already at each campus. Funding obtained through Morahan will provide for state-of-the-art distance learning facilities and specialized labs for consortium programs on Rockland’s campus.
Morahan, a strong advocate of measures to improve homeland security in Rockland, the region and throughout the state said, "The education of future emergency services personnel in Rockland and throughout the Hudson Valley is of paramount importance for our safety and security. I am delighted to support SUNY Rockland’s participation in the new Hudson Valley Domestic Preparedness Community College Consortium and to provide support for high-tech emergency services learning facilities at Rockland and throughout the region."
Dr. Cliff L. Wood, President of Rockland Community College, applauded Senator Morahan for his support of the Consortium and the new programs at the College. Wood said that through the Consortium, the participating colleges will grant associate degrees and certificates to prepare graduates for careers in emergency medical services, fire protection science, law enforcement, emergency management and cyber-security. Graduates will be in a prime position to seek jobs with professional fire departments, police departments and emergency service organizations, as well as in private industry as emergency management specialists in the Hudson Valley and in the metropolitan area.
The Consortium will be administered jointly by all four campuses - Ulster, Orange, Rockland and Sullivan. The presence of live, interactive video classrooms connecting the campuses to each other, will allow a diverse array of classes to be taught at the same time to students at any one of the four campuses. In addition, full use will be made of online instruction to supplement and expand the range of classroom offerings.
The program recognizes that the demand for educational programs in disaster prevention and preparedness need to expand. The Consortium will put Hudson Valley students on the cutting edge of a growing and critically important field. By working together, the Colleges and Senators have put together an educational program that could not have been achieved individually.
Tuition will be the same as regular courses offered at the campuses. The first interactive classes are expected to begin in spring 2007. Two years ago, each volunteer fire department and EMS organization in the State was also given the opportunity to have one member receive a scholarship at any SUNY school.
Some of the programs include the liberal arts and general education courses that will enable students to transfer to bachelor’s degree programs. This unique collaboration among the four colleges, which collectively serve 900,000 Hudson Valley residents, is an important example of regionalism working for the greater good in a most effective and efficient way.