Ulster County Executive, UCEDA and Educational Leaders Announce Planned Workforce Development Hub at iPark 87

Posted May 14, 2024

KINGSTON, NY – On Monday, May 13, County and educational leaders announced the signing of two leases at iPark 87 that will create an innovative workforce development hub intended to expand access by residents to job opportunities and attract new industries to the County. 

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger and UCEDA Chair Gregory Simpson announced the signing of a master lease for 40,000 square feet of space to create the Sustainable Ulster Workforce Innovation Center, a collaboration of the County, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Ulster, Ulster BOCES, and community-based partners. They were joined by Ulster BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Jonah Schenker, who announced a lease for 105,000 square feet of space for a new Career and Technical Center in the same building complex. Other speakers included SUNY Ulster President Dr. Alison Buckley, SUNY New Paltz Vice President for Administration and Finance Michele Halstead, Ulster County Legislative Chair Peter Criswell, President of National Resources Joe Cotter, and Town of Ulster Deputy Supervisor Clayton Van Kleeck. 

The Sustainable Ulster Workforce Innovation Center will house the Ulster County Departments of Employment & Training, Tourism and Economic Development, with programming space for workforce development partners, along with new instructional and programming space for SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster, Ulster YouthBuild, and other workforce development partners. The planned state-of-the-art Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center in the same building complex will serve approximately 1,200 students. 

“This project is truly transformational for Ulster County, involving a unique collaboration of government, educational and community-based partners, and businesses,” said County Executive Jen Metzger. “Our shared vision is to create a vibrant hub of learning and professional development, and a direct pathway into jobs through partnerships with employers. No matter where you are in your level of education, no matter what your economic or life circumstances, you will have opportunities here. And from an economic development perspective, the workforce innovation hub will better position Ulster County to proactively attract the kinds of businesses that contribute to a diverse, sustainable, and resilient economy in our County and region.” 

“Ulster BOCES has access to the largest potential labor market pool in the area — the nearly 600 seniors we graduate each year looking to enter the workforce and pursue postsecondary experiences, as well as indirect connections to the graduating classes of every public high school in the County,” said BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Jonah M. Schenker. “This positions us as a lead partner in workforce development, and being centrally located in the economic development hub of Ulster County being created at iPark 87, along with County government, SUNY New Paltz, and SUNY Ulster, will allow us to be a true engine to support these workforce development needs. But it also allows us to create rewarding opportunities and experiences for all students and is a step forward in developing equity, access, and belonging for all.”

"Signing this lease agreement with National Resources at iPark 87 marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the former IBM property,” said Legislative Chair Peter Criswell. “After years of being underutilized, the facility is poised to become a vibrant hub of activity, innovation, economic development, and community engagement. We are breathing new life into this space, transforming it into a dynamic center — from employment and training opportunities to tourism and economic development initiatives, this property will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Ulster County. We are ushering in a new era of possibility and prosperity for this historic site."

“When I previously served as County Executive, I proudly fought to turn around the former IBM campus, leading a bold revitalization effort alongside State, County, and local partners working closely with National Resources,” said Congressman Pat Ryan. “This site will bring thousands of good-paying jobs to the region, cementing the Hudson Valley at the forefront of a vibrant new economy in New York State for decades to come. I couldn’t be more excited for the future of this project and what it means for Ulster County families.”

“Being a public higher education partner in Ulster County's Workforce Innovation Hub at iPark 87 strategically leverages SUNY Ulster's mission to ‘Educate the individual and elevate the community.’ Our shared space and aligned SUNY mission in this location will contribute to the success of Ulster County's innovative economy by coalescing relationships with industry and academia as our residents attain their educational degrees/certifications and meet their career goals,” said SUNY Ulster President Dr. Alison Buckley. “We are poised to serve citizens through upskilling and on- and off-ramps to affordable access to higher education, leading to successful employment in a career with family-sustaining wages.”

“SUNY New Paltz is excited for the opportunities this endeavor presents for the University and our students,” said SUNY New Paltz Vice President for Administration and Finance Michele Halstead. “The iPark 87 collaboration is consistent with our role to serve the citizenry of this region and state, and we are considering which academic programs or other offerings that would best ‘fit’ in this facility. We look forward to the continued work we are sure to have with Ulster County, UCEDA, Ulster BOCES, SUNY Ulster, National Resources and the potential businesses that may occupy the transformed space.”

“The UCEDA board has been diligent and tireless in its efforts to help reactivate this site, working with the County Executive and the County Legislature. Key to this effort has been the development of a public-private partnership that can transform the County's economic agenda,” said Chair of UCEDA Rev. Dr. Gregory Simpson. “The mission of UCEDA is to support the promotion of Ulster County as the premier location to expand and grow businesses for the creation of wealth, fostering strong, sustainable, diverse economic opportunities for Ulster County and its communities. Undoubtedly, the single most important project UCEDA has been working on for quite some time is to help catalyze the redevelopment of this campus. By holding the lease for the Workforce Innovation Center, UCEDA is playing another tangible and important role for the community to transform and advance the economic development agenda in the region, and we are all looking forward to seeing this happen.”



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