Workforce Development Programs Transform the Empire State
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 in New York:
1. A new Excelsior Research and Development Tax Credit to support innovation and enhance New York State’s role in the New Economy
2. A new Excelsior Investment Tax Credit to support capital investment
3. A new Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit for each new job created
These firms also are eligible for three tax credits, each of which is fully refundable:
1. Excelsior New Jobs tax credit: between $2,500 and $10,000 per new job
2. Excelsior ITC: 2% of qualified investments made during that year
3. Excelsior R&D tax credit: 10% of the federal R&D credit that can be allocated to New York State
Firms are eligible for benefits only after demonstrating job creation commitments have been met. Excelsior will only be available to firms in targeted industries, those with the greatest potential for long-term growth in New York. These industries include: biotechnology, pharmaceutical, high-tech, clean-tech, green-tech, financial services back-office operations and manufacturers.
The Small Business Revolving Loan Fund was created for worthy New York businesses that currently cannot access traditional credit markets, with a focus on businesses that generate economic growth and job creation. The fund supports a wide range of small businesses—mom and pop businesses, retail, service and manufacturing businesses, with the goal of providing capital to “Main Street,” everyday businesses throughout the state. New, startup businesses may be eligible under certain circumstances, such as having a credible business plan, collateral and a track record of other business success. Eligible businesses interested in obtaining financing will work directly with the state’s local partners, which are selected through a competitive process, and can include private and non-profit lenders such as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), credit unions and community banks. There currently are more than 100 such institutions throughout New York State and the fund includes local partners in every region.
The goal of the New Technology Seed Capital Fund is to expand New York’s technological strengths and promote commercialization that leads to economic growth throughout New York. It is designed to support New York’s world-class research and development programs, nurture early-stage companies, and foster regional technology partnerships. The Seed Fund will create opportunity through innovation, which in turn will drive private investment and job creation in high-growth emerging sectors of the state’s economy. An “emerging business sector” is defined as one of the four following categories:
1. Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical: Drugs and pharmaceutical development, testing, medtech, medical imaging, agricultural/chemical
2. Advanced Manufacturing: Nanotechnolology, microelectronics, clean transportation parts and supplies, sustainable manufacturing, chemical.
3. Clean Energy: Batteries, fuel cell, energy efficiency, smart grid technology
4. IT/Software: wireless, network and information technology
Eligible applicants may include for profit-businesses, not-for-profits, local development corporations and/or universities to facilitate economic development. Applicants may also involve a partnership of any combination of the above organizations; however, for purposes of awarding a grant, ESD will enter into a funding agreement with a single entity. The entity must show at least three years of fundraising and investment experience in New York state, demonstrate a proven ability to undertake financial due diligence on new companies, and maintain the capacity to manage all aspects of the grant. Regions with existing angel network funds, seed funds, or other regional technology development funds may be designated as the grantee for a Seed Fund Grant.
OSWEGO INVESTS AND GROWS
Throughout 2009, the economic recession that began in the United States in 2008 continued to deepen, resulting in a challenging climate for business success and, ultimately, survival. However, as the new decade unfolds, the economy seems to be slowly rebounding both nationally and locally.
Despite tough economic conditions, manufacturers in Oswego County have continued to invest and grow their production facilities. Over the past year alone, Oswego County has seen companies such as Fulton Thermal in Richland, NY planning to invest $13.5 million in a 135,000 square foot expansion to include a research and design center where the company will develop and test new alternative energy options. The project will create 50 jobs.
Oneida Lake Ready-Mix is a new company located in West Monroe, NY that will specialize in the production of concrete for commercial and residential use, as well as heavy equipment repairs and sales. The company constructed a 7,300 square foot facility and will employ approximately 29 people.
Gun cleaning systems manufacturer Otis Technology is expanding its operations by locating a new research and development facility in the Oswego County Industrial Park in the town of Schroeppel. The project involved the acquisition and renovation of an existing 20,000 square foot building in the Park. The project is expected to create 15-20 jobs.
Huhtamaki once again expanded its operations in the city of Fulton by adding new state-of-the-art printing equipment. The company employs 650 and is the second largest manufacturing employer in the county.
Additionally, Sunoco, Inc. has targeted June 2010 to be in full production of 100 million gallons of ethanol per year at the former Northeast Biofuels plant in the town of Volney. The company has applied for Empire Zone certification and is projecting the creation of 69 jobs at the plant with an annual payroll of around $4.5 million.
Manufacturing continues to be one of Operation Oswego County’s primary targets. In 2010, efforts will focus on helping to make our existing firms more competitive, helping to facilitate expansions, investment and job creation/retention of our manufacturing base, and continuing to promote and develop strategic initiatives to compete for and attract new manufacturing employers to the county.
Like the manufacturing industry, the forecast for small business development also looks promising. New businesses in Oswego County include Great Lakes Recycling in the town of Oswego, Dunkin Donuts new facilities in the town of Granby/city of Fulton and in the town of Mexico, the planned waterfront renovation of Oswego Stevedore Warehouse to residential and retail property in the city of Oswego, The Bake Shop Eatery in the village of Mexico, and Seaway Lofts plans to retrofit an historic building into 26 units of affordable housing apartments in the city of Oswego.
Business expansions include Mitchell’s Speedway Press who expanded their operations and acquired and relocated to the former Speedway Press in the city of Oswego and ongoing renovations of Oswego Hamilton Homes for Phase II, which will involve 59 more affordable housing units. In the healthcare arena, Oswego Health converted the former A. L. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fulton into an urgent care center, and Oswego Hospital expanded and improved its emergency room complex in Oswego.
For more information on economic development services in Oswego County, call Operation Oswego County, a private, non-profit organization working to enhance and protect the economic climate of Oswego County, at (315) 343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org.
BINGHAMTON: AFFORDABLE HAVEN FOR HIGH TECHNOLOGY
In challenging times, doing business in Binghamton makes more sense than ever. It is located an easy three hours northwest of midtown Manhattan, situated strategically between Syracuse and Scranton along the Interstate 81 corridor. In Binghamton, you are a few hours from the Boston-Washington corridor in the U.S. and the Toronto-Montreal corridor in Canada, the largest markets in North America.
Binghamton is an affordable haven for high technology. We rank—along with San Jose, Cambridge, and Austin—as one of the strongest areas for innovation in the United States. The area boasts company clusters in aerospace, software, advanced manufacturing, communications, simulation, distribution and the services. It also is home to household name companies like Lockheed Martin, Gannett, Rockwell Collins, IBM, Frito Lay, L-3 Communications and BAE Systems along with a range of smaller firms who like Binghamton’s combination of work and play.
Impress USA, a metal can manufacturer based in Pittsburgh, is building a more than $30 million facility in the Broome Corporate Park in Conklin. This facility will likely employ more than 160 people over the next five years. It is projected to open in the fall of 2010.
VMR Electronics, a maker of electronic cables and wire harnesses for the defense business is among the fastest growing companies in Upstate New York. The company consolidated its operations into the former Ascendia building, a 160,000 square foot facility in downtown Binghamton. VMR is making a $4.5 million investment including new equipment and plans to create more than 50 jobs in the coming years.
Binghamton is very proud of the Charles Street Business Park. A partnership among Empire State Development, the City of Binghamton, and the Broome County IDA has created one of the premier business parks in the northeast. The 32-acre site, a former Brownfield, is now home to Emerson Network Power’s 40,000 square feet Binghamton headquarters. People from all over the world visit Emerson to learn about the latest technologies that protect and support business critical systems. The Charles Street Park is in a Federal HUBZone creating many potential advantages for businesses that locate there. There are 3-4 additional sites available.
Many regional companies enjoy a strong partnership with Binghamton University, a premier global public institution ranked by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as one of the best values in public colleges anywhere. The University features stellar academics, amazing research, and a strong international focus.
In Binghamton, people like to brag about the quality of life. It means excellent schools, an opera and a symphony, strong minor league baseball and hockey, Division I athletics and a fast-growing arts scene. According to U.S. News and World Report, Binghamton is the most affordable place to retire in the United States. The median sale price for an existing single family home in 2009 held steady at $109,000 and is up more than 7% since 2007.
Binghamton’s superb transportation system makes it possible to get to the Adirondacks, the Poconos, and the tremendous fly-fishing along the Delaware River in a matter of hours. And if you like winery tours and tastings we are a short distance from the Finger Lakes, one of the Wine Spectator’s emerging wine regions in the world.
We have recently launched BinghamtonBiz on Twitter. Our feed promotes Binghamton business to a global audience. We have attracted followers in the small business, venture capital and media communities from across the United States. Find us on the web at twitter.com/binghamtonbiz. BinghamtonBiz has a companion channel on YouTube where users may find interviews with regional business leaders, virtual tours of key properties and recent national commercials.
For more on business in Binghamton, visit the BCIDA’s website, www.bcida.com, including a searchable property database, an interactive profile of the region and a link to our incentives and programs. As quality of life becomes increasingly important to overall business success, we encourage you to consider Binghamton.
ISLIP LEADS THE WAY
The Town of Islip is located in southern Suffolk County, New York on the south shore of Long Island. The town consistently leads the Long Island region in business activity, as measured by its Industrial Development deals, SBA 504 loans and New York State Job Development Authority loans. Islip’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) was selected as an honoree for the 2009 Real Estate Awards as the IDA of the Year in Suffolk County. The honorees are selected by the editorial staff of Long Island Business News and are based on the impact of each project on the local economy.
The Islip IDA was recognized for helping bring several companies to the town, such as Blackman Plumbing, which has invested $25 million in a new corporate headquarters in Bayport and will employ over 160 people. Other success stories include the Perfume Center of America’s construction of a 165,000-square-foot facility in Ronkonkoma and U.S. Alliance Paper’s construction of an 80,000- square-foot facility, both of which will employ close to 100 workers each.
The town’s convenient location to the Long Island MacArthur Airport helps companies conduct business more effectively and efficiently. The airport is one of the fastest growing airports and is recognized as one of the top five regional airports in the United States.
Two valuable incentive programs for companies locating in Islip are its Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) and Empire Zone. Companies can import certain types of merchandise into an FTZ without going through formal customs entry procedures or paying import duties. Islip’s FTZ #52 has 435,000 square feet of prime warehouse and office space located on 52 acres of land.
The Empire Zone program offers development and redevelopment opportunities for industrial, commercial, office and traditional downtown retail projects. It provides a variety of state and local tax incentives and economic development benefits that can allow businesses that locate in the Empire Zone to operate virtually tax free. Zone benefits have attracted a variety of businesses, including Creative Bath, Cintas, Jasco, Corporate Courthouse Center, and the Long Island Ducks/Citibank Ballpark.
Other incentives available for businesses include low-cost financing tools such as Tax-Exempt Industrial Revenue Bond Financing,
NYS Job Development Authority, Federal SBA 504 Loans; tax abatements, exemptions, and credits such as Industrial Development Agency; grants such as NYS Industrial Effectiveness Program and NYS Environmental Investment Program; technical assistance including NYS Global Export
Marketing Services, NYS Manufacturing Assistance Program, and energy conservation tools such as National Grid Energy Efficiency Program, LIPA Energy Efficiency Program, LIPA Commercial Construction Program, and National Grid Cinderella Program.
Islip has a strong food manufacturing and distribution industry and offers numerous state and local economic incentives that provide critical support to help companies build and grow their facilities. In 2008, the New York Office of Economic Development (OED) provided a grant to help Constance Food Group build a state-of-the-art green manufacturing facility. Constance supplies goods to all of the 7-Eleven convenience stores in Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Westchester County—a big job requiring a lot of water. Red Castle Bakeries found its way to Islip in October 2007 after being displaced from its New York City home by an urban renewal project. Lucille Minuto, Red Castle’s owner, says that Islip has provided Red Castle with an excellent workforce, customer base and access to major markets.
If it weren’t for Islip’s location in the Empire Zone, Silver Lake, manufacturer in the multi-million-dollar baking business, might have located the company out of state. Islip’s OED has helped the company move to Islip in 1985, expand in 1999, and has played a crucial role in helping it stay competitive and be successful. Its customers include A&P, Grand Union, P&C, Sysco, Wal-Mart and Costco.
Speaking of Sysco, the global leader in food sales, marketing and distribution is currently constructing a state of the art distribution center in Central Islip in the heart of the Town’s Empire Zone. The almost 400,000-square foot facility will take advantage of tax incentives provided by the Empire Zone program and the Town of Islip’s Industrial Development Agency.
J. Kings Food Service is the 11th largest independent distributor in the country, one of the largest in the state, and the largest on Long Island. The location in Islip has helped the company to leverage its market niche by working synergistically with other town-based businesses such as Jonathan Lord and Wenner Bread, companies that use J. Kings’ services to transport their food products.
Another company that has experienced great success in Islip is the Whitsons Culinary Group, a family-owned dining services company that has grown beyond expectations. It has been so successful that it had to hire 100 new employees, doubling job-growth expectations. In June 2006, the company was designated the Town of Islip Empire Zone’s first Regionally Significant Project, which has helped the company obtain real property tax credits, wage credits, investment tax credits, sales tax abatement and better LIPA rates. These incentives enabled the company to expand into a vacant lot across from its current location. The company now looks forward to adding another 50 jobs in the next three years.