January 22, 2013

Nothing nano about job fair

By: Larry Rulison

Source: Times Union

ALBANY — Call it the battle of the tall vs. the small. The day before the Harlem Globetrotters attract a horde of fans in Albany on Feb. 3, a high-tech job fair is expected to draw its own crowd at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Officials are hoping to fill 300 positions.

A job fair held two months ago at the college, which specializes in advances in making computer chips and other devices that use semiconductor materials, attracted 750 people. Attendance was so strong that the school had to ask 50 additional employees to volunteer to staff it, double what it had planned.

The response to the November event was not surprising given the current state of the economy and the fact that the NanoCollege has become one of the biggest job creators in the Capital Region with nearly 3,000 employees, many of them well-paid technicians and engineers.

The current job openings are being driven by recent program and facility expansions at the school, including the Global 450mm Consortium, or G450C, which is part of a $4.8 billion research endeavor by the world's largest computer chip companies to radically alter how chips are made.

Because of the popularity of the last job fair and a personal interest in the high-tech economy by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, both the governor's office and the state Department of Labor will be involved in next month's event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school on Fuller Road, just south of Interstate 90.

Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the NanoCollege, said Cuomo personally directed the Labor Department and his office to work with the school on the event, an arrangement that Kaloyeros says could be a "test case" for future workforce development initiatives.

"This is part of making state agencies and academic institutions work together to leverage each other's resources," Kaloyeros said. "He (Cuomo) wanted to use this as a test case. And it's great."

Kaloyeros said that staff and expertise from the Labor Department and the governor's office will be critical to handling what is expected to be an even bigger turnout this time around.

Cuomo said when he announced the G450C in 2011 that the goal would be to increase the participation of women and minorities in the state's growing high-tech economy. Kaloyeros said that already, 20 percent of the contractors hired on the project, which included construction of a new $365 million building, are minority and women-owned businesses.

February's event, like November's, will target women, minority and veteran candidates.

Salaries for the new jobs range from $35,000 to $100,000 and aren't only for engineers and people who hold Ph.D.s. There are also jobs for security officers, cleaning and maintenance workers and those who will have administrative roles.

Kaloyeros says even the seemingly less technical jobs are part of the high-tech wave. For instance, many of the cleaning jobs take place in the high-tech clean rooms where silicon wafers are processed into chips. Kaloyeros said people selected for those positions will be trained "at a significantly advanced level," providing upward mobility not offered in other industries.

Those who wish to pre-register for the event and upload their resumes can go to the college's website at