MIDDLETOWN – With an eye toward expanding the College’s academic and workforce programming, and reshaping community partnerships, SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young announces the hiring of Dr. Jean Leandre to fill the newly created leadership position of vice president for workforce, strategy, and innovation.
Most recently the founding dean of career and professional development at Rockland Community College, Leandre will begin his new role on Sept. 15. At SUNY Orange, Leandre will oversee the Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) division, which develops and delivers in-person and online non-credit programming, industry certification training, workforce training, High School Equivalency (HSE), English as a Second Language (ESL) and other customized programming. Leandre will manage the College’s offices for grants and institutional planning, assessment and research; be tasked to build and grow community partnerships; and serve as administrative liaison to Orange County FoodTEC, a related 501(c)3 agency headquartered at the College’s Newburgh campus.
“The first two goals of the College’s Strategic Plan assure we remain committed to empowering student success and strengthening our region’s economic future,” Young says.
“In Dr. Leandre we have found someone who will elevate our ability to achieve these goals in new and innovative ways. Under his leadership, we will create and enhance local partnerships, develop academic and training programs to better serve the varied employment and educational needs of those within our community, and support economic development within the greater Hudson Valley.
“Dr. Leandre’s expertise and the vision he shared for this position, paired with the deep talent pool we have within our College community, will position SUNY Orange for even greater successes and growth in the coming years,” Young adds. “He has a proven track record of successfully working with faculty and has demonstrated an appreciation for operating and collaborating within a shared governance atmosphere.”
Leandre has 15 years of experience in higher education, with stops at Mohawk Valley Community College, Bronx Community College and the SUNY North Bronx Career Counseling & Outreach Center. He is a product of the SUNY system, having earned an associate’s degree at Mohawk Valley and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Institute of Technology. Additionally, he acquired his master’s degree in human services, as well as both an Ed.S. and an Ed.D. in educational leadership, from Liberty University.
“I am thrilled and honored to join SUNY Orange as the vice president for workforce, strategy, and innovation. The opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of both the College and the community it serves is incredibly exciting,” Leandre explains. “I am eager to collaborate with the dedicated faculty and staff, engage with the diverse student body, and partner with employers to bridge the gap between academia and the ever-evolving workforce demands.
“I also look forward to working closely under the visionary leadership of Dr. Young, whose commitment to student success and regional economic advancement aligns perfectly with my own goals. Together, we will cultivate meaningful partnerships, drive innovation, and transform challenges into opportunities. SUNY Orange has a rich history, and I am excited to play a role in shaping its future by nurturing a vibrant ecosystem where education, workforce development, and community collaboration intersect to create a brighter tomorrow.”
Hired as the founding dean of career and professional development at Rockland in 2021, Leandre built a non-credit Division of Economic Mobility and Workforce Innovation from the ground up, overseeing seven functional areas within the newly created division: enrollment management, academic and student support, career readiness and success, community education, the Haverstraw Extension Center, SUNY micro-credentials, and industry partnerships. He successfully generated $1 million in new grants and managed more than $4 million in grant funding, all while reducing expenses by approximately $1 million during the 2022-23 fiscal year.
From 2015 to 2021, Leandre was director of student engagement and leadership at Mohawk Valley Community College, overseeing cocurricular programs. Prior to that, he worked at the statewide network of Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC), spending one year as the director of student affairs at the Bronx Educational Opportunity Center at Bronx Community College within the CUNY system, and three years as a case manager at SUNY North Bronx Career Counseling and Outreach Center. The EOCs provide tuition-free academic and workforce development programs, such as High School Equivalency preparation, College readiness guidance, English language instruction for Speakers of Other Languages, and job training and industry certification programs.
In 2022, Rockland Community College and its Division of Economic Mobility and Workforce Innovation received the Community College Innovation Award from the New York Community College Trustees for a partnership with Rockland Paramedics Services, which allowed for the creation of an EMT-B training program. In its inaugural semester, all 11 members of the program completed the training program, passed their licensing exam, and were hired by Rockland Paramedics at a family-supporting entry level salary.