Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #18: Growing Our Economy With Good Jobs
We’ve committed hundreds of millions of dollars to projects that will make our area a more attractive place to live and work – and we’re not done yet.
Nano Utica is our most exciting development. It’s an emerging hub for research and development in the field of nanotechnology, which is rapidly improving the computers, tablets and laptops we use for everything from hospital patient records to 3-D gaming.
We put $180 million in this year’s state budget for purchasing new equipment for the Computer Chip Commercialization Center currently being constructed on the SUNYIT campus in Marcy. When completed, the $125 million facility will include cleanrooms, laboratories, workforce training facilities, and space for hands-on education.
The entire initiative is expected to produce more than 1,000 new, high-tech jobs in the Mohawk Valley.
Up north, the growth is in biotechnology. The state budget includes $10 million for a partnership between Clarkson University and the Trudeau Institute. The funds not only help retain 80 jobs, but allow both the college and the research facility to expand their networks. The goal is to take products developed in the labs of Trudeau and commercialize them, which would bring a needed infusion of high-paying jobs in the North Country.
The Regional Economic Development Councils, created in 2011, have been quite beneficial. The North Country’s council has delivered $274.7 million for 222 projects, more money than any other region. And Mohawk Valley’s group has delivered $202 million for 205 projects.
Governor Cuomo recently announced a fourth-round of awards, with $750 million at stake.
Groups in our region also received smaller awards from the recently enacted budget. Here a few examples:
- $1 million to NUAIR, for start-up costs related to its drone program at Griffiss International Airport
- $625,687 to be divided among Oneida County and the village and town of Vernon for being host communities of video lottery terminals
- $500,000 for SUNY IT expenses of staffing and research faculty, at a time the college is merging with CNSE to create a new world-class nanotechnology, science and engineering college.
- $200,000 for the Civil Air Patrol, which includes a Central New York group based out of Griffiss International Airport in Rome.
- $150,000 for Boys’ State and Empire Girls State, which helps teenagers learn about government and become more engaged citizens.
- A 25 percent tax credit that will entice Broadway shows to stage their technical, preview productions at venues like the Stanley Theatre, Utica.
The state budget provided funding for several important economic development initiatives in my district, and this is one of the many reasons I voted ‘yes’ this year.