Keuka College has received $250,000 from New York State to fund a project aimed at boosting the economic profile of Yates County.
The Empire State Development (ESD) grant will help fund the Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics, which will be housed in a new building. Construction of the facility is expected to start in spring 2015.
The funding was included in the $80.7 million awarded to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) at a ceremony yesterday (Dec. 11) in Albany. The awards culminated the fourth annual New York State Regional Economic Development Councils competition in which 10 regional councils across the state vied for a piece of $750 million in grants and tax breaks.
“I am pleased that the FLREDC and ESD saw the value of the Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics (CBAHI), especially the impact it will have on Yates County,” said Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, president of Keuka College. “The Center will create jobs and become the hub for entrepreneurial programs and research in Yates County.”
The Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics will leverage Keuka College’s entrepreneurial business programs to boost the economy of Yates County—New York State’s most economically challenged region—by creating construction, high-tech, health sciences, and education jobs,” said Díaz-Herrera.
“The academic programs, workshops, symposia and development of analytical capabilities that the CBAHI will promote will be vital components of our student’s education,” said Dr. Dan Robeson, founding director of the Center for Business Analytics and Health Informatics, chair of the Division of Business and Management and associate professor of management. “The CBAHI places Keuka College among the first movers in higher education in this new and dynamic field.”
“The Center will also leverage the College’s expertise in healthcare—in particular nursing and occupational therapy—to address the nursing shortage faced by Yates County and other rural regions across the country,” said Díaz-Herrera.
In addition, the president said health care providers in Yates County will receive state-of-the-art training in informatics.
“This is important because achieving meaningful use of electronic health records depends on the capacity of providers to effectively exchange data through interoperable systems while safeguarding the integrity, privacy, and security of patient information,” he explained.“The training provided by the Center, to nurses and others pursuing careers in healthcare, will help Yates County retain these talented workers, thereby ensuring a high-level of healthcare in the future.”
Keuka College students will also reap benefits because the Center will provide hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, a staple of a Keuka College education and a key to finding success in the job market and graduate school.
The Center will anchor a new college-town development (Keuka Commons)—called for in the College’s Long Range Strategic Plan—that will serve myriad needs of students and community residents. Early planning calls for a fitness center, stores, and eateries.
The ESD grant comes six months after the College earned START-UP designation, an initiative designed to provide major incentives for businesses to relocate, start up, or expand in New York State through affiliations with colleges and universities.
More than 2,500 square feet of vacant space at Keuka Business Park in Penn Yan was declared eligible for the START-UP program and the College is working with the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center to secure businesses for that location. The College also hopes to designate space in the Keuka Commons building for the START-UP NY initiative.
A centerpiece of the Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to jump-start the Empire State economy, the regional councils were established in 2011. The first three rounds of the regional council process awarded more than $2 billion to more than 2,200 job creation and community projects, supporting the creation and retention of more than 130,000 jobs.
Keuka College has received a gift from Donald and Christine Wertman of Hall, N.Y., to help establish the Keuka College Center for Business Analytics & Health Informatics.
Donald Wertman is COO of Seedway LLC, vice president of the Keuka College Board of Trustees, and sits on the Finger Lakes Health (FLH) Board of Directors.
The Wertmans are supporting the Center because of their interest in health care, in particular student wellness.
“While we support all areas of the College’s Long Range Strategic Plan, we are financially supporting the component of the plan that deals with student wellness in all forms—physical, mental, and spiritual,” said Donald Wertman. “Wellness is critically important to student success.”
FLH plans to partner with the College on the project because “we believe it has the potential to improve the struggling economy of Yates County while enhancing the region’s health education opportunities and access to health care services,” said Dr. Jose Acevedo, president and CEO of FLH.
Keuka College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera agrees.
“The Center will leverage the College’s existing health care expertise and programs through its highly rated nursing and occupational therapy programs,” said Díaz-Herrera.
Keuka offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at sites around New York state through its Accelerated Studies for Adults (ASAP) program, as well as a bachelor’s degree in occupational science and master’s degree in occupational therapy on its home campus in Keuka Park.
Pending approval by the New York State Education Department, the College and FLH will jointly offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing beginning in fall 2014.
Díaz-Herrera expects the Center to anchor a new college-town development—called for in the strategic plan— that will become the hub for Yates County entrepreneurial programs and research.
Part of that college-town development could include a health clinic—perhaps managed by FLH—that would serve the needs of students and the community, according to Wertman.
While a health clinic remains only a possibility for now, there is no doubt that the Center for Business Analytics & Health Informatics would be a boon to Yates County in terms of jobs.
“The Center will provide the required infrastructure for expanding business opportunities and job creation in the region,” said Acevedo.
Díaz-Herrera said the Center will “create construction, high-tech, health sciences, and education jobs in addition to helping our region’s fastest growing employment sector train and retain a highly educated work force.
“The Center will help the county and region support the need for new high-tech industry development while providing health care workers with specific health informatics training,” said the president. “It is a perfect fit for our Digital Learning@Keuka initiative.”
“It’s clear,” said Wertman, “that the Center and partnership between Keuka College and FLH will not only be a win-win for both entities, but for our entire community. We trust that our gift will inspire others to evaluate how they might share resources in support of Keuka College’s strategic plan.”