Sen. Charles Schumer is trying to get the federal labor department to steer $23 million to New York's community colleges so they can set up a health care worker training program.
The State University of New York is applying for the grant. It's similar to one SUNY won last year for high-tech manufacturing.
Twenty-nine community college campuses are listed on the grant application. They would split the grant money. The schools would also partner with area hospitals.
The training, according to Schumer, would be for jobs like nursing and health care technicians.
"Jobs in the health care field are good paying. They’re secure career jobs," the senator said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. "They’re usually immune to foreign competition and they’re available now."
Upstate New York's economy has increasingly become dependent on health care as traditional blue collar jobs continue to evaporate.
"If SUNY wins, the worker training programs will be just what the doctor ordered for local, unemployed workers and veterans, as well as our college graduates," Schumer added. "Upstate New York’s medical sector is a growing industry and it will put our schools on the cutting edge."
Schumer says the grant money would come from trade assistance penalties companies that outsource jobs have to pay the labor department. Veterans and those out of work due to outsourcing would have a priority into the program.
The grant would pay for training for more than 6,000 people, Schumer said.