"I think this is going to be a really critical component for Clinton Community College," she added.
Patrick Cribb of Plattsburgh, a second-year wind energy and turbine technology student, agreed, saying the new training equipment will help provide a closer look for students at tools of the trade on a more frequent basis and less time-consuming manner.
"It's definitely an advantage for the program to have something like this," he said. "We won't have to pick up and go to a turbine 30 miles away when we can get a simulation going of the same thing."
Cribb believes that will help boost the already growing enrollment in the wind energy and turbine technology program which is also first and only one of its kind currently in New York State. In fact, the program has already more than doubled its enrollment from 15 to 31 students from the 2009 to 2010 semesters.
"I'm sure it's just going to continue to increase," said Cribb.
And, for students like Cribb who want to study wind energy close to home, this program will put Clinton Community College on the map, he said.
"If I would have had to travel farther to take the program, I may not have done it just given my situation having a family and owning a house," said Cribb. "It would have been difficult to travel. Definitely, the fact that it's here helped out a lot."
That's encouraging news for the business community, said Jody Parks, executive vice president of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce.
"Strengthening the skills of the local workforce will help bring new jobs to the area and it will help existing businesses remain competitive," said Parks.
In addition to funding from NYSERDA for the equipment, the New York State Department of Labor and NYSERDA provided funding to the college for staff to attend American Wind Energy Association conferences and training for the newly-purchased equipment in Louisville, Ky.
Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, who was also in attendance for the press conference, said the equipment purchased with the funding will help Clinton Community College continue to play "a large role in emerging green job markets" while helping enhance the education of North Country students. "These are the kinds of grants that allow institutions like this to grow, to prosper and to, more importantly, serve their communities," said Owens.