By Bera Dunau
The Daily Star
---- — Wednesday saw the dedication of the Robert F. Sweeney Smart Grid Training Complex at the Oneonta Job Corps Academy.
Robert “Bob” Sweeney was a project manager for the United State Department of Labor for Region 1 for the Job Corps program for 10 years. In this capacity he worked with Job Corps centers in New York and New England, including the Oneonta Jobs Corps Academy.
Sweeney retired in the fall of 2012, and died May 5. To honor his memory, Oneonta Jobs Corps Academy Director Chris Kuhn came up with the idea of naming the academy’s smart grid training complex after him, an action that quickly gathered support within the Job Corps Program.
“This is a great tribute to Bob,” said Bonnie Sweeney, Robert’s wife, after the ceremony. “Our family is honored .”
The dedication was well attended and took place on the grounds of the academy. State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, was present for the event.
“Bob was one of the good guys,” said Kuhn, in his remarks opening the dedication ceremony.
“Mr. Robert Sweeney touched and changed many lives within the Job Corps program,” said Brian Fox, President and CEO of Education and Training Resources (ETR), the company that operates the Oneonta Job Corps Academy.
“I don’t think my dad would know what to say right now, he really wouldn’t,” said Greg Sweeney, Sweeney’s eldest son, who added that even though his father helped many people, he’d said he was just doing his job.
“Please continue doing what you’re doing because you’re helping more people than you know.”
The ceremony also featured an acknowledgments portion, where those involved with the training complex and its establishment were recognized.
After the speakers finished, the complex was officially dedicated by two members of the complex’s Overhead Line Construction course climbing telephone poles and unfurling a banner. A stone with a metal plaque honoring Sweeney also marks the complex.
The Robert F. Sweeney Smart Grid Training Complex offers three advanced programs: Overhead Line Construction, Underground Residential Distribution and Smart Meter Technician. Each of these programs are 14 weeks long, and attract students from around the country.
The Job Corps program is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and established in 1964 . It provides vocational and academic training for low-income young people ages 16 to 24 facing barriers to employment. Anyone interested in the Job Corps program can learn more by calling 1-800-733-5627 or visiting www.jobcorps.gov