Governor David Paterson’s Excelsior Jobs Program is just one of several new initiatives the state is taking on to increase job growth and attract new business. New York State offers unparalleled resources including a diverse economy, a highly skilled and talented workforce, and outstanding academic and research centers. Innovative industries and technologies make New York a great place to do business. To further enhance the state’s business status, Gov. David Paterson in January kicked off a statewide workforce development initiative by directing Empire State Development (ESD) Chairman and CEO Dennis M. Mullen and Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner M. Patricia Smith to work with businesses across New York on how they can take advantage of New York’s business development programs. “Providing New York’s businesses with the necessary tools and assistance they need to develop our state’s workforce is critical during these difficult economic times,” says Gov. Paterson. “By directing Chairman Mullen and Commissioner Smith to make sure businesses are aware of New York’s valuable services, our communities can work to develop the economy, get businesses hiring again and put people back to work.” The four-city, two-day tour kicked-off in Saratoga and made stops in Syracuse, Binghamton and Rochester. The tour promoted tax incentives, free recruitment and human resources expertise, and innovative marketing services that could save New York State businesses thousands of dollars every year. “Over the course of the past nine months, we have worked hard to create a cross-cutting strategy for New York State that reflects a thoughtful, multi-market approach to economic development,” says Mullen. “After hearing from business executives, university leadership and representatives of regional economic development organizations across the state, our senior team worked together to develop three powerful economic development initiatives. Governor Paterson announced the proposed programs in his Executive Budget. The Excelsior Jobs Program, the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, and the New Technology Seed Fund are specifically targeted towards our economic development goals; if enacted these programs will have a transformational impact on job growth in New York State. They are strategically targeted, fiscally responsible and results driven. When combined with our existing grants and loans programs, these initiatives will put us in a solid competitive position to realize meaningful, long-term growth and renewed prosperity in New York State.” According to ESD, the Excelsior Jobs Program is the centerpiece of the most innovative job creation agenda in the history of New York. The program proposes three aggressive incentives for companies in targeted growth industries, which create and maintain at least 50 new jobs […]
Governor Charlie Crist focuses on Florida’s unique strengths by creating special incentives for the space industry, biotechnology and other innovation growth sectors. As part of his ongoing focus on growing Florida’s economy through job retention and creation, workforce training and economic development, Governor Charlie Crist highlighted his proposed economic budget strategies at the “Florida’s Future Summit” in February. The summit emphasized the importance of increasing South Florida’s focus on economic drivers such as workforce, innovation, infrastructure, global competitiveness, quality of life, and streamlined civic and government systems. “My focus continues to be on strengthening Florida’s economy and creating jobs for the people of our state,” says Gov. Crist. “The talent of our workforce is the formula to Florida’s economic success, and I am committed to building a workforce ready to step into the innovation, knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.” During his remarks, Gov. Crist highlighted his commitment to growing the state’s innovation economy, ensuring a competitive business climate, building a world-class workforce, and establishing Florida as a pre-eminent global trade hub. He also reiterated his economic budget priorities, which include $307.5-million for targeted economic development initiatives and incentives to help increase Florida’s competitiveness in key business sectors, including digital media and information technology, aviation and aerospace, defense, biotechnology, tourism, sports, and film and entertainment through the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED). “Collaboration among Florida’s talent supply chain, which includes educators and business leaders like the Florida Chamber of Commerce, is crucial for the prosperity of tomorrow’s knowledge-based economy,” says Gov. Crist. “While we focus on attracting innovative companies to our state, we must also continue to prioritize local business needs like tax relief and the development of our workforce.” Recently, Gov. Crist also proposed additional strategies for growing jobs, businesses and economic opportunities through $100 million in tax relief to families and businesses. Gov. Crist recommended a $9.7-billion investment in economic development, which includes infrastructure, workforce development and incentives for small businesses. The Florida governor also recommended continued investments to assist individuals, businesses and communities as the state’s economy recovers. “The successes we are seeing in Florida’s biotechnology business hub show us that we must continue our efforts to attract and retain companies in Florida’s innovation sectors,” Gov. Crist says. “Florida’s business friendliness, talented workforce, beautiful environment and pleasant climate make the Sunshine State an excellent location for companies seeking to grow economic opportunities.” Highlights of the governor’s planned incentives needed to build Florida’s innovation economy include the following: • Space Florida, $32.6 million—In response […]
Renewable energy resources rapidly are becoming a prerequisite for location decisions. There are many factors to consider in evaluating the green credentials of candidates. Q My company is considering where we should build a new facility to manufacture a product designed to take advantage of renewable energy sources. We want the new facility to be located in a region, state, and community that encourages the development and use of environmentally-friendly technologies and practices. How should we evaluate potential locations for our facility? The Expert Says: I will start from a macro perspective. To state the obvious, your company would do best to consider a country with good environmental conditions and a good record on environmental issues. By most respects this would limit your search to the developed countries rather than developing nations. Diving down a little deeper, there are a number of factors that should be considered at a regional level. I will start first with air quality. The condition of a region’s air quality is an important measure for a lot of manufacturers who are seeking federal air permits to discharge pollutants from their facilities. If this applies to your facility, then you will want to focus your search on areas that are in attainment for all of the criteria pollutants measured by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Beyond your own discharge issues, it may also be important to your company to be located in a community that has a strong history of monitoring and protecting the quality of its air. As such, the EPA attainment status remains an important factor. In addition, for companies that are vigilant about monitoring the environmental impact that its products and facilities have, you will also want to pay close attention to the energy and utility capacity of the communities that you are considering. On the electricity side, you will want to evaluate the generating sources owned and operated by the electric utility provider. You may actually elect to only consider communities that are served by an energy company whose generating portfolio is in a majority of renewable sources. If your process involves a lot of water and/or wastewater production, the planning and administration of regional water and wastewater systems will be an important issue for evaluation. You will want to consider whether or not the regional systems are using cutting edge technology for the capture, treatment, recycling and release of the water and wastewater resources. It will also be important to consider the capacity of the systems under consideration, as you do […]
Brendan Miller became New Mexico’s first Green Economy Manager in 2008. We asked him to explain his role and the state’s clean-energy strategy. BF: What is New Mexico’s strategy for development of alternative energy growth? BM: Gov. Richardson’s Green Jobs Cabinet (GJC) has identified five key goals for New Mexico: 1) Be the leader in renewable energy export, 2) Be the Center of the North American Solar Industry, 3) Lead the nation in Green Grid innovation, 4) Be a center of excellence in green building and energy efficiency, 5) Have a highly skilled and ready-to-work workforce. BF: Many states are focusing on one type of renewable energy, while others are trying to build a diversified base. Should each region “play to its strength” or is diversification the key to success? BM: We have been stressing the importance of economic and energy diversification across the state. In New Mexico we are blessed with strong solar, wind and geothermal potential and we plan to develop all three. These various sources can support each other by increasing the load factor on transmission lines since they are available at different times of the day. This means less natural gas or storage will be needed to back up intermittent renewable energy sources, reducing costs. I believe it is important at the utility scale to play to regional strengths to compete. BF: What are the major economic development challenges that may arise from a cap-and-trade system? BM: With New Mexico’s strong history of oil and gas production, we have to find a way to strike a balance on cap and trade issues. Carbon pricing can stimulate innovation but it can also produce business and job “leakage” if it is unevenly implemented between states. Our department generally considers national or regional cap and trade structures that create a level playing field between states a reasonable compromise. BF: How critical is it to create an infrastructure for clean energy technologies, including major new transmission systems? BM: Transmission is absolutely critical for a state like ours with a large renewable energy resource and a small population. We must find ways to get our power to major demand centers, which is why our Renewable Energy Transmission Authority is so important. Energy storage and other green grid / smart grid infrastructure will also be critical. We are working to make progress on all of these fronts. BF: Many governors are calling for national standards that would set a goal of 10% of U.S. electric power derived from renewable sources by 2012. […]
From the Desk of the Editor in Chief The people who make those giant cardboard sunglasses that shield car windshields from the baking summer sun are going to have to find a new line of work soon. The folks in Tucson, AZ have a better idea—they’re covering outdoor parking facilities with solar panels. Futuristic solar arrays are transforming the Arizona landscape and giving Tucson bragging rights as “The Solar City.” Our cover design pays homage to Tucson’s ambitions by imagining a photovoltaic canopy over the entire city, which isn’t as big a stretch as you might think. This month, we herald the arrival of the Age of Alternative Energy. On these pages, we detail the frenzied activity across the country as every state is powering up by capturing sunlight, harnessing the wind and converting wastelands into biofuel. Even before a national goal for electricity from renewable sources has been established, the race to the finish line is well underway. The economic recovery and alternative energy are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. When billions of dollars in stimulus grants were earmarked for alternative energy projects last year, some thought this was a long-term response to a short-term need. Now, it seems, everyone has healthy case of green-power fever. So don’t hesitate to say goodbye to a bitter winter of economic discontent and punch your ticket to The Solar City, where the future’s so bright it’s got its own shades.
Business and elected leaders in Clarksville-Montgomery County, TN were presented this week with Business Facilities’ 2009 Economic Development Deal of the Year Silver Award
The Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America brought together top players and industry experts from the exploding green energy sector.
Sectors of the call center industry did more than show surprising resilience in the downturn—they actually thrived and added job growth across the economy. As with many of the industrial sectors in the U.S. today, economic news about the call center/IT/data center industry is a mixed bag in terms of growth. The good news is that according to the National Association of Call Centers (NACC), which tracks the call center industry globally, more call center jobs were gained in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2009 than lost. This news also was bolstered by the fact that it was a part of a three-quarter-long recovery. The bad news was that the number of call center openings versus closings was down. According to the NACC, the largest growth in call center jobs came from the Financial Services Sector. King White, president of Site Selection Group, a location consulting firm that focuses on call center and back office site selection globally, reported in July, 2009 that unlike other sectors of the economy, certain sectors of the call center labor market were flourishing; what’s driving them is a demand for business process outsourcing (BPO) and accounts receivable management (ARM) services. “This [was] probably the strongest month we’ve had in 12 to 18 months,” White said of the jump in June. “We had huge numbers, 20,000 total jobs created, which is what it was during the peak of the economy two years ago.” According to Site Selection Group’s research, 20,485 new jobs were created in the industry worldwide with 56% of those jobs located in the U.S., and the BPO industry led the way with 15,560 jobs. The financial services industry and debt collection services industry also added jobs at this time. The economic downturn also shifted the way call center site selection has been occurring. Many large corporations laid off employees and closed divisions such as customer service, financing and collections, preferring to outsource these functions instead. However all of these functions still must be performed for customers. This is what’s provided the growth in BPO and ARM call centers, according to Susan Arledge, president/CEO of Arledge Partners Real Estate Group. It creates a specific necessity for “plug and play” properties where companies can be operational quickly without a large capital outlay. Arledge says her company tracks several million square feet of these types of locations. “There are many former contact center properties that had been operational or had been built but never occupied when corporate plans changed or client contracts fell […]
Industry-specific clusters are thriving along I-90 in northern Illinois due to close collaboration and proximity. One of the most successful industry-specific manufacturing hubs in the United States is located in an area known as the Golden Corridor, which stretches along I-90 in northern Illinois. In 2009, business and financial services employed 31,758 in the Golden Corridor; information technology and telecommunications, 17,185; biomedical and biotech, 12,009; defense and security, 10,191; advanced materials manufacturing, 7,320; and computer and electronics manufacturing, 4,186. A burgeoning cluster of precision machine tool producers and their suppliers has taken root in the Corridor, centered on several locations—Schaumburg, Elgin, Rolling Meadows, and Hoffman Estates. Among the major precision tool makers to establish operations in the Golden Corridor are industry giants Mori Seiki, FANUC Robotics, Amada, BIG Kaiser and Mazak Optonics. Amada decided to place its Amada Solution Center in Schaumburg because it was impressed with the Golden Corridor’s reputation for fostering an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, key factors in attracting highly skilled workers, a company spokesman said. The 133,000-square-foot Solution Center, the design of which was inspired by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, provides access to technological expertise and research, real-time demonstrations of metal fabrication systems, and advanced training and development to companies throughout North America. Amada America Inc. produces sheet metal fabrication equipment, including CNC turret punch presses, laser-cutting systems, press brakes, robotic bending systems, flexible manufacturing systems and software. According to several toolmakers, close proximity to suppliers and access to a huge market also were major attractions for locating within the Golden Corridor. “They all work together on various aspects of toolmaking. One may make a material holder while another performs a lathe process or another supplies the robotics to implement the cutting of the tool,” explains Gary Skoog, Hoffman Estates economic development manager. Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Rolling Meadows currently are spearheading an effort to create the Golden Corridor Innovation and Science Park. Unlike a traditional science and technology business park, this entity is planned as more of a “virtual” park that will enable companies to network with each other to promote innovation. Such a network—using International Association of Science Parks guidelines–would facilitate communications and collaboration regarding supply chain management, cooperative outsourcing, and available labor pool, among other issues. Formative plans for the Innovation and Science Park envision a “three-legged stool:” the first leg is the network; the second leg consists of institutions of higher education in the area, many of whom have licenses for patented processes, are growing entrepreneurship programs, and […]
Don’t let your project get detoured or end up on the wrong development track by ignoring the factors that make transportation a critical consideration in site selection decisions. Q As we consider locations for a new facility, we are finding that transportation issues present a lot of uncertainty in terms of our logistics strategy. How do we manage this in order to get to the best location for our project? The Expert Says: Transportation issues impact most every location decision. Transportation issues can be associated with infrastructure (availability and capacity) and with service (time and cost). And for every project, some consideration should be given to all modes of transportation—air (passenger and cargo), rail (transit and product movement), road (employee and product), and water. Other related issues such as mass transit availability, fuel tax policy, toll road presence, etc. may also be important to particular projects. In this column, we focus on road and rail transportation. If your project is one in an office environment, you are likely most concerned with road and air travel. If your project is industrial (distribution or manufacturing), then road and rail may be the most critical elements of transportation. Many industrial clients are now favoring locations with good access to all modes. There are a number of trends that should drive you to consider all modes of transportation, including quality of rail access, competition, and dynamic global supply chains, all of which will impact your transportation costs. In assessing rail service at your site, do not assume that because there is a rail line along side your property that it is rail served. You should receive direct confirmation of service, and any limitations to service, from the rail carrier. If the site can be served, do not assume that you can do your operational run around using the carrier’s tracks—restrictions on these activities are common, implying that your site plan needs to accommodate all rail movement on-site. This in turn may impact site size, layout, product and people flow, etc. Rail competition can be difficult to find and manage. While truck and rail directly compete more often than they did in the past, most rail oriented operations find advantages in using rail services. You may consider multiple locations each with different carriers, but ultimately you will likely wind up on a site that offers a single provider of rail service. First, see if the owner of the line shares trackage rights with other carriers enabling other carriers to bid for your business. Second, you […]