Cell Phone, M.D.: Anas Almaletti ’08


Major: Math and Science Graduate

The story of Anas Almaletti is nothing short of remarkable. After graduating from high school in Jordan, he came to the United States to be with his father who was operating a cell phone repair service. He started classes at Onondaga Community College the following fall in 2006 and prepared himself for the language barrier and post September 11, culture he had experienced since his arrival. However, from his first day of classes he was encouraged and inspired.  “I could read, but not speak the language, but my professors and classmates helped me through the process so having a small setting and identifying with my instructors on a personal level was instrumental in adapting to the work.”

Almaletti speaking at the Multicultural Summit held at OCC in March.

When he first enrolled at OCC, Almaletti wanted to be a doctor, but he soon found out that he was not passionate about the coursework involved in the profession. He would transfer after graduating in 2008 to Binghamton University with a focus on Chemistry, but continued to find himself uninspired after graduating with the degree two-years later. He decided to take a year off to work with his father and reevaluate his options when he discovered the spark he was looking for. “Soon after I started working for my father I realized the business needed a lot of organizational and marketing help so I set about improving these areas and almost immediately I found my passion.”

Almaletti became a fixture in the company and would go on to get his MBA from Syracuse University in 2014 in order to fully commit to the profession. While at SU he began incorporating his education into how he could grow his father’s company because he knew the model of repairing and refurbishing cell phones was not a high growth opportunity. That year, AT&T bought out Cricket Wireless. He saw an opportunity to establish satellite branches locally and draw on his education coupled with what he had learned while working with his father. Today, Almaletti heads up about 15 Cricket Wireless stores and is as surprised as anyone. “I had no idea I would be where I am today once we started this process, all of this started with me wanting to help my father’s business and to see where we have come is truly unbelievable.”

Most of his stores have been open for only a year or two. He’s in the process of reviewing their profit analytics before committing to further expansion but is optimistic. He still operates his father’s store, with his brother, and due to their success his father has been able to retire.  Looking back, he feels much of his success is due to the start he received at OCC. “The best thing the College taught me was they were going to support me, but I was going to have to put the work in. This type of mindset has stayed with me and allowed me to push through some tough times in order to get to where I am today.”

Supporting Workforce Development

Onondaga Community College received a $220,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase. A ceremonial check was presented during a press conference June 10 in the Whitney Applied Technology Center. The funding will support the College’s Workforce Development efforts, specifically in the training of students for employment in the agribusiness and food processing industry. The College is partnering with employers, nonprofit organizations and New York State to develop the program.

This generous grant from JPMorgan Chase is part of its $1 million commitment to supporting advanced manufacturing training programs in the upstate regions of Syracuse, Albany, Buffalo and Rochester, and part of a much broader $250 million commitment to address the skills gap in communities around the world. Goals of JPMorgan Chase’s plan include:

  • Building a demand-driven system through cross-sector gatherings to encourage collaboration, share findings and formulate strategies.
  • Investing in the best training and making targeted investments to strengthen and scale the most effective workforce training programs.
  • Relying on data and sponsoring a data-driven analysis of skills demand to supply gaps in local markets.

The focus of this project on the agribusiness and food processing industry is in response to a workforce demand in a growing sector of the economy. The five-county region of Central New York (CNY) includes 3,585 farm businesses generating products with a market value of $673 million. Agricultural commodity sales in New York State (NYS) increased by 20% from 2007-2012 to over $5.4 billion annually and by 21% in CNY during the same period. NYS is a leader in agricultural production of apples (2nd in the U.S.); feed corn (2nd); sweet corn (4th); fruits, tree nuts, and berries, (6th); and vegetables for market (8th). NYS is the nation’s third largest producer of fluid milk and commodity crops and was the nation’s top yogurt producer in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In addition, there are more than 200 food processing companies in CNY, including a growing list of farm breweries and distilleries producing beer, hard cider, wine, and spirits.

In October 2014, OCC was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program in support of this effort.

“We are thrilled to be selected by JPMorgan Chase to receive this important grant funding. Through our Workforce Development program we are committed to responding to the needs of both local employers and workers and aligning the needs of both as we work to advance the economic vitality and growth of the Central New York region. Having this support in place will make a significant impact upon our mission,” said OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

“All of us on the Board of Trustees are keenly aware of OCC’s critical role in the community and the opportunity we have to make Central New York a better place for all of us. We applaud JPMorgan Chase for being our partners in this effort through their very generous grant. We are very fortunate to have their support and thank them for it,” said Margaret M. “Meg” O’Connell, Chair, OCC Board of Trustees.

“At JPMorgan Chase, we believe we have a fundamental responsibility to use our resources and expertise to help the communities where we live and work. We are proud to be partnering with Onondaga Community College to provide training to folks in Syracuse that will fill important jobs within the advanced manufacturing sector,” said Mark Allen, Upstate New York Region Executive, Commercial Banking at JPMorgan Chase.

“I am grateful to community partners JPMorgan Chase and Onondaga Community College for their ongoing support of transformative solutions to impact both employers and un-and-underemployed residents in our community,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “This new investment will dovetail with CenterState CEO’s Work Train initiative, which will align with and support the college’s training programs, helping to develop a manufacturing workforce pipeline in the region.”

OCC is working to ensure the programs it develops are well-aligned with employer needs by using the DACUM (Developing A CurriculUM) process. After a half-century of use, DACUM is widely accepted as the best methodology for creating competency-based and employer-driven training to build workforce capacity. Many state agencies, including the IRS, Texas Occupational Standards Committee, and national, international, and multi-billion dollar corporations, including AT&T, Boeing, Disney, Energizer and General Motors use DACUM to establish effective training programs with superior results.

Several leading employers in the Agribusiness and Food Industry sector have committed to the project including: AGRANA Fruit US, Inc., American Food & Vending, Byrne Dairy, Giovanni Foods, G&C Foods, HP Hood, Food Bank of Central New York and Tops Friendly Markets. Employer partners are committed to identifying and validating competencies, validating curriculum, promoting the program, providing content experts and instructors, identifying career pathways, hiring qualified candidates upon completion and participating in program assessment.

Non-profit partners include CenterState CEO, a 2000-member, business leadership organization; Work Train, a collaborative led by CenterState to link low-income individuals with job-training; the Workforce Development Institute; the Southwest Community Center; Catholic Charities; Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center; the Manufacturer’s Association of Central New York and the Onondaga Farm Bureau. The public workforce investment system is represented by CNY Works and JOBSplus!

Partners in the agribusiness program include SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Morrisville and Cornell University.FEATURE JPMorgan Chase check presentation