Empire State Development Blog

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Board Meeting

Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 9:30am
In accordance with current Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via video conference and teleconference. The public may view and listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by Noon on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will be posted online.
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Press Release

Monday, May 16, 2022 - 11:14am
$3 Million Food and Agriculture Global Startup Competition is Accepting Applications Through July 1st Competition is Funded Through Upstate Revitalization Initiatives - Finger Lakes Forward, CNY Rising and Southern Tier Soaring - Regional Comprehensive Strategies to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that the application window is now open for the 2022 Grow-NY food and agriculture competition. Grow-NY, a unique initiative which connects innovators and investors in the food, beverage and agriculture sectors locally and around the globe, has already resulted in economic growth and entrepreneurial opportunity in Upstate New York.  The Grow-NY region, a 22-county area spanning Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier, has already seen hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars of follow-on investment as a result of the competition. Grow-NY attracts high-growth food and agriculture startups to compete for $3 million in total prize money each year and supports 20 finalists through a business development phase that connects them with the region’s resources. Governor Kathy Hochul included funding for three additional rounds of this impactful competition in her FY 2023 budget. Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “This fourth round of Grow-NY will further build on the success of earlier competition winners, whose entrepreneurial ideas are fueling economic growth Upstate. These innovative companies have attracted significant investment and are seeding the ground for even more innovation, both throughout the Grow-NY region and around the world.”  Winners are required to commit to operating in at least one of the 22 Grow-NY counties for at least 12 months and must agree to “pay-it-forward” provision in the form of an equity agreement. One finalist will receive a top prize of $1 million; two others will be awarded $500,000 prizes, and four more will be given $250,000 prizes. Winners will also receive tax incentives and publicity support to announce their achievements across the Grow-NY region and in their home regions. Funding for the program comes through Empire State Development from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative’s three regional entities, CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward, and Southern Tier Soaring, and is administered by Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. Ronald P. Lynch, Dean of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Benjamin Z. Houlton, said, “Cornell is proud to support the Grow-NY competition, which plays a vital role in catalyzing food and agriculture start-ups and entrepreneurship across our region. By partnering across the public and private sectors, Grow-NY is critical to scaling new technologies and innovations needed to meet our state’s goals for more sustainable food systems that provide healthy, nutritious food to all.” The startup competition begins its fourth year with impressive momentum, having garnered applications and interest from over a thousand businesses in 32 unique states and 37 other countries over the last three years. In all, 59 finalists have been selected to date, with 21 winners sharing $9 million in startup funding as well as the invaluable mentorship and networking benefits which the program delivers to finalists. In addition to emphasizing innovation and scalability, the Grow-NY program is focused on drawing more diverse leaders to the region by reaching communities that have historically been left out of the innovation economy.  In 2021, 51% of the 330 applicants included a founder from an underrepresented minority group, and 44% included a female founder. “We are looking for food and ag innovators that operate at any point in the agrifood system that demonstrate a value to customers, an ability to grow quickly and sustainably, and diversity within their founding team,“ said Grow-NY program director Jenn Smith. Applications must be submitted by Friday, July 1. In August, up to 20 finalists will be assigned mentors and enter the business development phase. All finalists will receive bespoke entrepreneurial support and valuable regional introductions, additional training to hone their live pitches, and an expenses-paid, three-day business development trip to the region for up to two team members. The selected  finalists will present their business plans during the Grow-NY Summit, Tuesday and Wednesday November 15-16, alongside a symposium of panel conversations and keynotes, a showcase of agencies, companies, research groups, and other organizations that serve startups working in food and ag, and a student stage where middle- and high school aged New Yorkers will pitch their ag- and food tech ideas. Judges will base award decisions on the following five criteria: Viability of Commercialization and Business Model – the potential for the entrant to generate revenue and maintain a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business, demonstrate technological readiness or innovate to fulfill its value proposition; Team – Demonstration of a level of cohesion, completeness, diversity, and readiness within the team of founders, employees, and advisors; inclusion or plans for inclusion of employees and advisors from communities that have historically been excluded from the innovation economy, such as women and minorities; Customer Value – the degree to which the entrant is providing something for which customers are willing to pay, and addressing a substantial market; Food and Agriculture Innovation – the extent to which the entrant is pushing what’s considered state-of-the-art in the food and agriculture industries, and contributing to Upstate NY’s status as a global leader in innovation in these markets; Regional Job Creation – the potential for creating high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY footprint and relevance to the existing food and ag ecosystem; and The Grow-NY region, which hosts over 40 percent of New York’s 33,438 farms, includes an abundance of vibrant, fertile lands along with such major urban centers as Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton. It is a 22-county region comprised of the following three areas: Finger Lakes – Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates  Central New York – Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego Southern Tier – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Through three rounds, the Grow-NY competition has highlighted New York’s agricultural and food industry partners and helped to foster tremendous innovation. I’m excited that this fourth round will continue to build on that success, further showcasing the strength and diversity of our agriculture and food businesses and attracting exciting, cutting-edge companies that are creating the ag technologies and jobs of the future while supporting our local farms.” Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, and Dr. Linda LeMura, President of Le Moyne College, said, "New York State continues to experience unprecedented growth in the agriculture and food industries. The globally renowned Grow-NY competition represents yet another exciting investment in our community that will further bolster regional job growth and further support our agricultural base throughout Central New York ensuring the region continues to rise." Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chair Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Denise Battles, President SUNY Geneseo, said, “The regional council is again proud to support round three of the innovative Grow-NY competition. Our agricultural and food industries are truly world- class and both their products and innovations are huge economic drivers for our state and region. Connecting the cutting-edge ideas of these entrepreneur teams with local industry partners supports the multi-pronged approach laid out in the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which is working to create a thriving regional economy.” Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), and Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm, said, "New York's agriculture industry is one of the most prestigious and productive in the nation.  This initiative, with its focused investment in the region, adds great value to the Southern Tier's continued economic success in the ag sector. The Grow-NY competition enables innovative and competitive businesses to showcase their strengths and will further our efforts to bolster the regional economy ultimately helping the Southern Tier to soar." To learn more about the Grow-NY competition, visit: www.grow-ny.com. To learn more about the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit: http://crea.cornell.edu/ About Empire State Development Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov. Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here. ​ Accelerating CNY Rising  Today's announcement complements “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here. Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring  Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here. Contact: Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055 Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313 Leigh Martino | Cornell University Center for Regional Economic Advancement [email protected] | | (607) 427-0971
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Public Notice

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 2:00pm
View all grants to be presented at the batch virtual public hearing.
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Press Release

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 1:27pm
Solar Vehicle Cover Manufacturer Purchased a 150,000-Square-Foot Facility in the Town of West Seneca Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Worksport Ltd. has purchased and has further plans to develop a $15.7 million state-of-the-art facility to manufacture the company’s products in the Town of West Seneca. The company is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol “WKSP”. With the purchase, Worksport plans on creating multiple jobs in the area by bringing its production back to North America. The company produces tonneau and SOLIS tonneau covers for pickup trucks. Worksport is also dedicated to pursuing clean energy solutions through the purchase of the facility. “Governor Hochul’s dedication to attracting small businesses, by supporting forward-thinking companies like Worksport Ltd., will continue to strengthen the economy and create high-quality jobs in Erie County and across the state,” said Empire State Development Commissioner and President & CEO Hope Knight. “As Worksport’s first U.S. production facility, this project will solidify the company’s investment within New York State, help foster innovation and green technology, and provide the potential for even more jobs in the future.” Mr. Steven Rossi, Chief Executive of the Company said, “We are looking forward to bringing our manufacturing back to North America, and especially in New York. We are grateful and New York has been very good to the company. We are looking forward, with this facility, to do extremely exciting things.” In order to grow its market share in the clean tech industry, the company purchased and plans to renovate a 152,847-square-foot building located at 2500 N. American Drive in West Seneca to manufacture its tonneau and SOLIS tonneau covers, as well as its Terravis system. Not only does Worksport produce the SOLIS tonneau covers but it has also been developing a hybrid energy system named Terravis. Terravis is being developed as portable solar power generation system capable of forming personal microgrids for pickup trucks. This system consists of the company’s SOLIS cover with an additional COR system (portable power station). The $15.7 million project includes building acquisition, equipment purchases and building renovation costs. It is expected to create 28 jobs over the next 5 years, with salaries ranging from $35,000 to $65,000. ESD will provide Worksport Ltd. up to $280,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Supporting clean tech efforts like this is a priority for New York State and aligns with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of reducing gas emissions 40% by 2030. Worksport expects to be operational in the new space by spring 2023. Additional information about Worksport Ltd. can be found here.  Tom Kucharski, President & CEO, Invest Buffalo Niagara said, “We are excited to welcome Worksport to Buffalo Niagara and enjoyed working with the company through the cross-border due diligence process in expanding to our community. Our region continues to show itself as a natural front door to the American market for Canadian companies and one prepared to capture significant job creation opportunities.”  Senator Patrick Gallivan said, “"I congratulate Worksport Ltd. on choosing West Seneca for its U.S. production facility and thank company leaders for their investment and confidence in New York State. Bringing new companies to Western New York and creating quality job opportunities for residents is critical to building the region's economy."    Assembly Member Pat Burke said, “I am thrilled to welcome Worksport to our West Seneca community, as small businesses are essential for a strong regional economy. The fact that Worksport is also working diligently in the clean tech industry makes this a win-win for West Seneca and Western New York.” County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “Erie County is proud to partner with New York State in efforts to onshore manufacturing to New York from China, and our joint effort to bring Worksport Ltd., a Canadian based company, to West Seneca demonstrates that our efforts are paying off. Utilizing $280,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits from New York, and $103,562 in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Worksport Ltd. will invest more than $15 million in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, thereby creating 28 new jobs by bringing production back to the U.S. from China. This clean tech company is growing and could have gone anywhere, but thanks to Governor Hochul they have a new home in Erie County and we welcome them here.” About Empire State Development  Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov. Contact: Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239
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Press Release

Monday, May 2, 2022 - 6:03pm
Regional Councils will Identify Employers' Workforce Needs and Recommend Priority Projects that Drive Each Region's Economic Strategic Goals    New York State Consolidated Funding Application Now Open     Guidebook for REDC Members on This Year's Process Now Available Here Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of Round XII of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. Round XII includes core capital grant and tax-credit funding to be combined with a wide range of programs from 10 state agencies that will provide funding for prospective projects. As with Round XI, $150 million in grant funds from Empire State Development will be available to projects on a continuous basis, in order to be responsive to the immediate needs of communities. "The Regional Economic Development Councils have been transformative for communities across the state, and we will continue supporting impactful projects that align with each region's strategic goals," Governor Hochul said. "Through Round XII, we are addressing one of the biggest challenges - and opportunities - in our state's economic development strategy by supporting New Yorkers in developing the skills they need to succeed, both today and in the future. The REDCs will identify strategies to ensure employers in growing industries have access to the skilled labor they need to be competitive, helping usher in a more prosperous New York for all." This year, the Regional Economic Development Councils will prioritize workforce development, with a specific focus on developing and funding job training and placement programs that address the current and future needs for talent of employers in the state and each region. As part of this focus on equitable growth, each Regional Council will work in concert with ESD and the new Office of Strategic Workforce Development to create a tailored regional strategy identifying the specific jobs and skills needed by employers in that area of the state. The Regional Councils and ESD will then seek to fund programs that help workers meet these specific needs. Under Governor Hochul's leadership, the State is continuously improving the Regional Council process to maximize impact in each region. This includes measures to promote transparency, streamline the work of the REDCs, and focus on talent as a pillar of equitable economic growth. Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 4:45pm
Family and Employee-Owned Company to Retain 228 Employees, Add 215 Jobs in Western New York    Rendering of Facility Available Here Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Great Lakes Cheese broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing and packaging plant in Franklinville and Farmersville. With a capital investment of more than $518 million, the project is the largest infrastructure investment in the company's history and the largest economic development project in the history of Cattaraugus County. Great Lakes Cheese will retain 228 jobs in the region, while adding an additional 215 employees. It will also double its milk consumption to 1.42 billion pounds annually, which will directly benefit New York dairy farmers. The new plant will replace the existing facility in Cuba, New York, upon project completion in 2025. See a rendering of the new facility here. "New York's economic comeback is stronger than ever and the new state-of-the-art Great Lakes Cheese manufacturing and packaging plant is a historic win for Western New York," Governor Hochul said. "The new facility - the largest economic development project in the history of Cattaraugus County - will provide an extraordinary boost to the region's economic growth, nearly double the company's workforce, and increase the stability of our state's dairy farms. I have never been more hopeful for the future of Cattaraugus County and Western New York as we continue to make historic investments to better the lives of hard-working New Yorkers." Great Lakes Cheese CEO Dan Zagzebski said, "Great Lakes Cheese was uncompromising in its search for a site that worked for our employee-owners, our business, and the local community. Franklinville checked every box. The community has understood and embraced our vision of, 'Together, for generations to come.' They have partnered with us on this historic investment so that generations of employee-owners can thrive in Western New York." Great Lakes Cheese is a national manufacturer and packager of natural and processed bulk, shredded and sliced cheeses. The company has eight existing plants, including two New York manufacturing plants in Cuba and Adams. The company is also constructing a new facility in Abilene, Texas, which is set to open at the end of this year. The expanded capacity and capabilities of the new 500,000-square-foot facility in Cattaraugus County will support the growing Great Lakes Cheese network of facilities. The new facility and the company's processing facility in the North Country will together make use of about 14.4 percent of New York's total milk production. Read the full release here.
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Press Release

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 10:46am
Dr. John Nader Succeeds Stuart Rabinowitz as LIREDC Academic Co-Chair Linda Armyn Succeeds Kevin Law as LIREDC Business Co-Chair The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council (LIREDC) today announced that Dr. John S. Nader and Linda Armyn have been appointed as Council Co-Chairs, effective immediately. Dr. Nader, President of Farmingdale State College, succeeds Hofstra University President Emeritus Stuart Rabinowitz as academic co-chair of the Regional Council. Linda Armyn, who serves as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Bethpage Federal Credit Union, succeeds Kevin Law, Executive Vice President of Tritec Real Estate and Empire State Development Board Chairman Designee. Since 2011, the LIREDC has secured more than $770 million to support over 950 projects across Long Island. ESD Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, "The Regional Economic Development Councils engage community stakeholders in the economic development process to support the State's efforts to create jobs and catalyze new regional investments. I congratulate Dr. John Nader and Linda Armyn on their appointments as the new Long Island Co-Chairs, and I thank Stuart Rabinowitz and Kevin Law for their time and dedication to the Regional Council, and for their work creating new economic opportunities across Long Island." Former LIREDC Co-Chair and ESD Board Chairman Designee Kevin Law said, “It's been my privilege to work alongside a terrific team on the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council. Together, we've supported inclusive economic growth that benefits all Long Islanders. I’m confident the LIREDC is in great hands and I look forward to supporting the Council’s efforts in my new role with ESD. Dr. John Nader and Linda Armyn are experienced, skilled visionaries, uniquely qualified to lead the Council and supercharge our momentum to bring Long Island to the next level. Long Islanders will be well served by their insight, integrity and consensus-driven approach, which will be essential as the LIREDC leads important new initiatives, including advancing local workforce development programs and advancing transformative projects for the Long Island Investment Fund." Former LIREDC Co-Chair and President Emeritus of Hofstra University Stuart Rabinowitz said, “I am honored to have served on the LIREDC and to partner with such a talented group of people in order to help grow Long Island’s economy, especially building on its unique, top-tier educational and R&D strengths. I am confident that Dr. John S. Nader will bring his deep understanding of, and commitment to, the region’s higher education landscape to find ways to incubate and catalyze ideas that have the power and potential to transform our economy and our daily lives.” LIREDC Co-Chair and President of Farmingdale State College Dr. John Nader said, “The LIREDC plays an important role in local economic development of the Long Island Region and I am honored to serve as a co-chair alongside Linda Armyn. By bringing together experts from industry, academia and nonprofits, the Council has developed strategic plans that have helped to fuel regional innovation and make Long Island a great place to live, work and visit. I look forward to building on the success of the Council and working to ensure Long Island’s economic prosperity.” LIREDC Co-Chair and Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Linda Armyn said, “I look forward to building upon the work of my predecessor, Kevin Law, and working with my Co-Chair Dr. John S. Nader and all those involved with the LIREDC to continue the Council’s transformative work. In my new role, and having already had the honor of working with the LIREDC, I’ve seen first-hand how our regional private-public sector collaboration, along with academia and labor, can help to grow manufacturing and innovation across Long Island’s multiple industry sectors, from tech to life sciences to clean industry and defense. I look forward to continuing that collaboration to grow the economy here on Long Island and across New York State.” Dr. John Nader has been a member of the LIREDC since 2018 and has served as co-chair of the LIREDC Workforce and Education Committee. Dr. Nader became President of Farmingdale State College in July 2016 where he has focused on the development of new academic programs, building partnerships with private industries and community colleges, advancing applied learning opportunities, and expanding support for student scholarships. He currently serves on the executive committees of the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education and the Skyline Athletic Conference. Previously, Dr. Nader was Provost at SUNY Delhi, served as a member of O'Conner Hospital's board of directors, and presider of the SUNY Chief Academic Officers organization. As Mayor of Oneonta from 2005 to 2009, he led the revitalization of a long-dormant downtown property and the creation of a veterans' memorial walkway. Dr. Nader received a BA in Politics from Ithaca College, and an MA and a PhD in Economics from the New School for Social Research. Linda Armyn has been a member of the LIREDC since 2016 and has served as a member of the LIREDC’s Executive Committee, Co-Chair of Child Care Committee, and a member of the Downtown Revitalization Committee. Mrs. Armyn is Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Bethpage FCU, where she began her tenure in 2001. With a focus on collaboration and innovation, Mrs. Armyn spearheads Bethpage Cares, a Bethpage FCU philanthropic effort that invests more than $2 million in communities of modest means annually. She also developed the Bethpage FCU Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which has seen Bethpage volunteers prepare more than $24 million in returns for low income Long Islanders since 2003. Mrs. Armyn is active within her industry as a member of legislative and advisory committees for the Credit Union National Association, NY Credit Union Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions. Locally, she serves as a board member for YMCA LI, Cradle of Aviation, Mentor NY, Child Care Council of Suffolk and a member of Stony Brook University Presidents Council. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned an MS in Corporate Communications from Northeastern University. About the Regional Economic Development Councils The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of New York State's transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, the 10 Regional Councils developed long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. Since the establishment of the REDCs in 2011 until the most recent round in 2021, which is still in-progress, over $7.5 billion dollars was awarded to more than 9,100 economic and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. Contact: Emily Mijatovic | [email protected] | (212) 803-3692
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Press Release

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 11:29am
Contact Lens Manufacturer Will Expand its Distribution Center Operations in West Henrietta and Manufacturing Operations in Scottsville Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that CooperVision will expand operations at two separate locations in Monroe County, creating to up to 173 new jobs.  Citing an increase in global demand for its contact lenses and a growing product portfolio, the company will invest more than $38 million to significantly renovate its current facility and expand, by 150,000 square feet, its packaging and distribution facility on Thruway Park Drive in West Henrietta. The company will also complete a $24 million renovation of its manufacturing operations on North Road in Scottsville to better accommodate current and future product growth. The West Henrietta project will be completed by the summer of 2023. The updated manufacturing facility is also expected to be operational by the end of 2023.   "CooperVision has long been an important economic driver for Monroe County and the surrounding communities by providing quality jobs for hard-working New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "By supporting the company's investments in the Finger Lakes, we continue to demonstrate New York's steadfast commitment to fostering the growth of innovative businesses that will help move the Finger Lakes forward for generations to come."    The West Henrietta center processes and ships nearly one billion contact lenses each year to customers in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific markets. As a part of its commitment to workforce health and safety, environmental responsibility, and renewable energy, CooperVision also plans to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification as part of the expansion. Currently, all the company's facilities across the Greater Rochester region are powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Founded in 1980, CooperVision, a division of CooperCompanies, is the 2nd largest manufacturer of contact lenses in the world. The company produces a full array of daily disposable, two-week and monthly soft contact lenses, available in more than 130 countries, that feature advanced materials and optics, and premium rigid gas permeable lenses for orthokeratology and scleral designs. The company conducts extensive ongoing research and development in optical and collaborates closely with eye care professionals who help to identify the evolving needs of contact lens wearers around the world. In September of 2021 CooperVision was named as one of Fortune's best large workplaces in manufacturing and production. The company's current local workforce includes more than 1,000 employees at its corporate offices in Victor, Ontario County, at the manufacturing facility in Scottsville and the packaging and distribution center in West Henrietta. Globally, CooperVision employs more than 12,000. CooperVision President Jerry Warner said, "Our West Henrietta site is one of the most technologically advanced distribution centers of its kind. Every day, our team—aided by innovations such as autonomous mobile robots and heads-up wearable displays—packages, stores, and ships millions of contact lenses to eye care professionals and consumers in multiple countries. The investment in additional packaging capabilities, storage technology, and upgraded warehouse management solutions enhances our industry-leading customer service reputation. Embracing and implementing sophisticated technologies is also essential for our Scottsville contact lens manufacturing facility, which is a jewel in our global network of production sites. We are excited by the opportunity to continue our technology and employee investment in the Finger Lakes region." Empire State Development is assisting the company with its continued growth in the region by providing up to $1.5 million in performance-based Excelsior Tax Credits at each project site in exchange for the company's job creation commitments. RG & E, Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise are also providing assistance for the company's expansion. Empire State Development Acting President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, "CooperVision's planned expansion, investment and continued commitment to Monroe County showcases the opportunities for economic growth in the Finger Lakes region. These innovative projects not only benefit from the area's skilled and talented workforce, but will further build a tech ecosystem that is creating jobs both now and for the future."  Read the full release here.  
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Press Release

Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 11:27am
New Office Will Target State's Workforce Development Efforts Toward Regional Businesses' Needs and Workers' Long-Term Success   Office Will Lead Broader $350 Million Workforce Development Initiative Approved in FY 2023 Budget, Including New Grant Programs That Will Primarily Support Employer-Driven, High-Skilled Workforce Training Programs  Input from Businesses in New Survey Will Inform Demand-Driven Workforce Development Model    Traducción al español Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the creation of the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development, which will be charged with improving the State's workforce development programs and practices to better align with the needs and priorities of today's employers. The Governor first proposed the new office in her State of the State address earlier this year and committed funding that was approved in the FY2023 budget. Governor Hochul is delivering on her commitment to strengthen the skills and talents of New York's workforce and help grow the economy. The $350 million investment in state funding will support wide-reaching, historic and coordinated investment in workforce development across state agencies and authorities and includes $150 million in multi-year funding for new grant programs that will primarily support employer-driven, high skilled workforce training programs.  "New Yorkers are still struggling to find work and opportunity due to the economic disruption of the pandemic," Governor Hochul said. "This issue is personal to me - I've seen steel plants close leaving workers with nowhere to go. With our brand new Office of Strategic Workforce Development, we are doubling down on our commitment to help train and connect New Yorkers with the good-paying jobs of the future."  Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Hope Knight said, "The new Office of Strategic Workforce Development will optimize ESD's relationships with the state's industries and employers to generate new opportunities for New Yorkers and encourage regional economic growth. Together with our State University system and our agency partners, we can provide businesses with a talent pipeline to catalyze new investments throughout the state."   The Office of Strategic Workforce Development will function under Empire State Development (ESD), marking a decisive change in workforce development policy to one that is laser-focused on supporting the labor needs of the state's highest-growth sectors while producing new economic opportunity for un/underemployed and underrepresented workers. ESD will manage the Office in close coordination with agency partners, including the Department of Labor, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York, among others with significant expertise in and a track record of delivering successful workforce training programs. The Office will leverage ESD's relationships with employers throughout the state and its standing as a trusted partner in the business community to help identify employer needs early and train New Yorkers to meet those needs.   Read the full release here.
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Press Release

Monday, April 25, 2022 - 3:33pm
The World's Largest Silicon Carbide Fabrication Facility Will Support Growing Electric Vehicle, 4G and 5G Mobile, and Industrial Markets    New Facility is a Significant Step in Bolstering the U.S. Supply Chain for Advanced Manufacturing and Semiconductors     Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the grand opening of the Wolfspeed 200mm silicon carbide fabrication facility at the Marcy Nanocenter, located on the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute campus in Marcy in Oneida County. Wolfspeed, the global leader in silicon carbide technology and production, has committed to creating over 600 new jobs at the new facility within the first eight years of operation. In addition, the company will provide internships and research positions for students attending the State University of New York, helping to advance a manufacturing-oriented workforce development initiative across the State University of New York system. Wolfspeed is actively working with education and business partners across the region to establish a robust pipeline for the next generation of high-quality, high-tech jobs in the Mohawk Valley, including those in advanced manufacturing.   "By cutting the ribbon on this new chip fabrication facility, we are making good on the promise of being the most business-friendly and worker-friendly state in the nation, while cementing New York as the national hub for semiconductor production," Governor Hochul said. "Employers in cutting-edge industries like Wolfspeed will power the future of New York by bringing good paying jobs and educational opportunities to communities like this one, right here in Marcy. My administration is pulling out all the stops to position emerging industries for success in our state, and I thank Wolfspeed for this public-private partnership."  Chief Executive Officer of Wolfspeed Gregg Lowe said, "Our strategic expansion to the Mohawk Valley is the next chapter in Wolfspeed's exciting story. The need for silicon carbide is tremendous as we look toward a technological future primed for energy efficiency and sustainability. We are very fortunate to have landed in the Mohawk Valley Region - a place that is rich in talent, drive, and promise for the future."   The opening of Wolfspeed's Mohawk Valley fabrication facility comes at a crucial time when there is a global shortage of semiconductors or "chips", which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wolfspeed has committed to establishing a silicon carbide corridor on the east coast of the United States, anchored by the Mohawk Valley fab and its headquarters and materials operations in North Carolina.   The Mohawk Valley fab will dramatically increase capacity for Wolfspeed's business and support the semiconductor industry transition from silicon to silicon carbide. Silicon carbide will be essential for electric vehicles, renewable energy and energy storage, and the advancement of industrial applications. The project is a prime example of how New York can help semiconductor companies of all sizes, and in particular manufacturers, by serving as a major hub and headquarters of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC). While construction was underway in Marcy, Wolfspeed was able to partner with NY CREATES to run its wafer processes and qualify tools at the Albany Nanotech Complex before moving the tools and equipment into the recently completed facility, which reduces the time from fab completion to chip production. Governor Hochul has been a strong advocate for placing the NSTC at the Albany Nanotech Complex, the most advanced, publicly-owned 300mm semiconductor research and development facility in North America and one of the most cutting-edge sites in the world. Read the full press release.
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