UTICA — Hailing recent improvements in education and transportation, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. gave a progress report on his Vision 2020 initiative.
Picente delivered the update in one of Mohawk Valley Community College’s classrooms that houses courses for the college’s small Unoccupied Aerial Systems degree program.
The Vision 2020 is intended to ready the region for growth in the areas of high-tech education and training; transportation and housing and access to opportunity.
“The collaborative effort of our Vision 2020 partners has yielded some truly amazing results,” Picente said.
“Phase One of the initiative created more student internships than ever before and new academic programs were created in high-demand areas such as emerging technologies, cyber security and healthcare. Phase Two has made great headway thus far in advancing our transportation strategies.”
Picente launched Vision 2020 in August 2013 as a means to bring together leaders in education, workforce development and industry to devise a plan to propel Oneida County’s high-tech economy into the future.
Phase One of the initiative saw progress made in the three key areas of — education and training, access to opportunity and housing.
Some results of which were internships increasing from 420 in 2013 to 1,222 in 2016, and this past fall semester, MVCC offering its new small Unoccupied Aerial Systems degree program in which students learn how to concept, design, build and fly sUAS using the most advanced technology available.
“According to the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the industry is expected to generate an additional 100,000 jobs and $82.1 billion in economic impact in the next decade,” said MVCC President and Vision 2020 Co-Chair Randall J. Van Wagoner. “Our new degree program gives students an unparalleled advantage in this field as it is the only one of its kind in the state, and one of only a handful in the entire country.”
This year, as part of Phase Two of the initiative, the Vision 2020 transportation committee is evaluating connectivity, alternatives to automobiles and accessibility.
Accomplishments in these areas have so far included the implementation of a survey of the transportation needs of the county’s top 25 employers and the alignment of overall Vision 2020 transportation strategies and outcomes with a long-range transportation plan for Oneida and Herkimer counties in order to maximize resources and overall impact.
Additionally, Oneida County was also recently awarded a New York State Energy Research and Development grant to lay the groundwork for the county to implement smart technology compatible with existing architecture to enable seamless management of a transportation network for the traveling public.
For more on the Vision 2020 initiative and to view the entire progress report please visit: vision2020oc.net/