Through innovative on-the-job training programs like apprenticeships, internships, and co-op programs across our system, SUNY faculty are working side-by-side with the state’s employers to craft new, engaging curricula that integrates classroom study and (often paid) work experience. So our graduates have a significant advantage as they enter the workforce.

The goal of The State University of New York’s (SUNY) Applied Learning Initiative is to ensure that every SUNY student has the opportunity to take part in at least one Applied Learning experience before they graduate, even those attending online.

Applied Learning refers to a hands-on, real-world approach where students learn by doing. Although the setting and context may vary for each applied learning opportunity, these traditionally include planning, training, monitoring, reflection, and evaluation, and can be credit bearing or not, at home or abroad.



clinical placements, in which more than 19,000 SUNY students participate; internships, in which more than 13,000 students participate; practicum, in which more than 35,000 students participate; and cooperative education programs (“co-ops”), in which SUNY faculty and area employers have jointly developed curricula that integrate classroom instruction and on-the-job experience.


service-learning, community service, civic engagement and volunteerism. More than 21,000 SUNY students participate in formal service-learning programs for which students earn college credit, while many others participate in community service and volunteer experiences locally, nationally, and around the globe.



student research, entrepreneurial ventures, opportunities abroad, and field study. Over 36,000 SUNY students are engaging in research




15 OF 64 CAMPUSES are requiring an applied learning experience for graduation (as of May 2017)

167,017 STUDENTS participated in applied learning experiences (summer’17 – spring ’18)


American Apprenticeship Initiative

Apprenticeships, where workers earn and learn at the same time, are a proven path to good, secure middle-class jobs. In fact, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta has stated that apprenticeships “hold great promise in helping American workers acquire the skills they need to get good jobs while ensuring companies can attract the talent required to succeed in this fast-moving global economy.”

Creating a pipeline of skilled workers, apprenticeships help employers prepare for the “grey tsunami,” mend the skills gap and help grow the middle class, while strengthening local businesses and bolstering the economy. Since 2015, The Workforce Development Board (WDB) of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties’ (HMO) American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) has been advancing apprenticeships across the Central New York region, helping more than 50 companies train nearly 300 workers.

In the machining and other manufacturing trades, some businesses have expressed the concern that the “skills gap” also includes some basic skills that are needed in advance of becoming a successful apprentice, such as Soft Skills, OSHA Basics, Shop Math, Measurements and Machine Basics. In response to that need, AAI has developed a program to prepare people, some as young as high school age, to acquire these basic skills prior to starting an apprenticeship, putting them on firm ground to succeed at the very start of their apprenticeship. Right now, there is federal money available for manufacturers who want to train their workers. Our grant can offer companies up to $3,000, per apprentice, to get the training needed for that worker to be successful. In addition to manufacturing, AAI also helps companies in the growing fields of cybersecurity and information technology, drones and nanotechnology.

“There’s no time like the present to begin investing in your workforce, says WDB Executive Director Alice Savino. “We hear every day from struggling companies the need for highly qualified and trained workers. Our grant can help manufacturers prepare the next generation of their workforce and ensure they are around for decades to come.”

If you would like to know more about AAI’s programs, please visit: