University at Albany

Good for SUNY's Workforce

The SUNY/CUNY Empowerment Act is all about growth and opportunity – for our students, our workforce and New York’s communities. By allowing SUNY to grow by at least 20,000 students over the next ten years, and unleashing our ability to create new revenue streams and more efficient operations, it is estimated that we can create an additional 2,200 faculty and 7,800 staff in the next decade. This adds up to a total of 10,000 new union workers.

Importantly, this job growth will be at all levels. Additional faculty continues to grow direct and indirect employment with new faculty often requiring new lab space, lab assistants, research assistants, clerical support etc. Increased public private partnerships will result in more projects being built (hotels, conference centers, recreational facilities, athletic facilities, business incubators, spin off facilities, testing facilities, labs etc) that not only employ construction workers (indirect employment), but also permanent employees to run and work in the facility.

Under this legislation, increased entrepreneurial opportunities will also generate 40,000 new construction jobs – and permanent jobs on campus associated with new programs and facilities. Of course, the SUNY/CUNY Empowerment Act maintains the same strong protections that prevent outsourcing of any position currently held by state employees. Project labor agreements (PLAs) will be evaluated for local campus-initiated construction projects.

The current fiscal crisis makes it unrealistic to expect significant new public investments in higher education. In fact, SUNY has endured nearly half a billion dollars in state funding reduction over the past two years. This legislation helps protect SUNY and its workforce from the winds of economic change that have put our finances at risk year after year.

Currently, SUNY’s student tuition, fees and other campus revenues are subject to approval by the Legislature, with no assurance that those funds will stay with SUNY. SUNY/CUNY Empowerment Act will shift these revenues off-budget to ensure that those funds will be used by the campus that generated them.