Assemblywoman Gunther SUNY Sullivan Letter

Recently I have noticed some concerns about the resources I have provided our community, particularly to SUNY Sullivan, as an elected official. I appreciate the concern for the well-being of Sullivan County and would like to clarify the points you made.

While serving as Sullivan County’s assemblywoman, I have devoted considerable attention to supporting SUNY Sullivan. I have secured increased funding for SUNY Sullivan, helped expand the college’s nursing program and bolstered its reputation statewide.

In September 2022, I secured $700,000 in funding for Health Studies at SUNY Sullivan, allocated primarily to the college’s Nursing, Respiratory Therapy and Medical Assistance programs. These funds will help recruit and retain staff, open additional seats in vital courses, update training facilities and bring advanced technology into the programs to keep students on the cutting edge of the medical field.

This is a continuation of my efforts to support our region’s medical students and help New York’s health care field thrive. For instance, in August 2021, I helped foster the partnership between SUNY Orange and SUNY Empire State College. This partnership allows qualified SUNY Orange nursing graduates and senior students with active registered nurse licenses to be automatically enrolled in Empire State College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, with their application fees waived. This new program expands opportunities for our best nurses to receive advanced training and provide higher-quality care to their patients.

Of course, nurses are far from the only group of students to whom I have devoted my attention. New York is experiencing an alarming shortage of trade workers. One surefire way to fix this issue is expanding options for students to pursue careers in trades and receive high-quality training that produces some of the state’s most skilled workers. SUNY Sullivan, NASRCC and I are confident that this program’s launch will successfully meet our region’s needs. In 2022, my office collaborated with SUNY Sullivan and the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC) to bring the college a new two-year Associate of Occupational Studies in Construction Technology program.

Shortly after securing the $700,000 grant for SUNY Sullivan, Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado joined me in visiting the campus to speak with students. We offered advice about entering public service careers and explained how to best work with their elected officials to improve their workplaces. We gained valuable insight as to what is most important to them in their education, and it was our privilege to encourage the next generations of professionals in their efforts.

I’ve continued to fight for SUNY Sullivan along with the other 31 community colleges in the state to be funded fully at 100% as allocated in the Governor’s budget proposal. I also believe we should fund the $75 million for “Transformative Initiatives” proving funds to properly staff our community colleges, enhance student services and programs, upgrade facilities and academic programs. We also need the 4% increase to the base amount allocated to help offset inflationary impacts.

Finally, I believe we can agree that it is never too early to begin preparing students for higher education. As such, I have worked to foster additional partnerships between SUNY Sullivan and local schools to give high school students the opportunity to take early college courses.

One successful example is the 2021 collaboration between SUNY Sullivan and The Homestead School in Glen Spey and Hurleyville, which led to the creation of the Homestead-SUNY Sullivan Collaborative College High School (CCHS). The early college programs CCHS offers allows students to pursue their career interests long before entering higher education, providing them with invaluable hands-on training and exceptional facilities to explore and expand their talents.

I understand the concerns for SUNY Sullivan. I have been diligently doing my part to support our schools and our community at large. Not only have I delivered increased funding to upgrade SUNY Sullivan’s courses and facilities, but I am constantly working to open new opportunities for our students and help them to reach their full potential.

If you have any further questions or would like more details regarding my work for our region’s education system, please feel free to contact me at any time for discussion.

Aileen Gunther
Member of Assembly