New York State Returns To ‘Cutting Edge’ Of Manufacturing, Innovation

Governor Kathy Hochul is committed to continuing to improve New York’s economy through revitalizing business districts and new workforce initiatives.

By Kari Williams
From the March/April 2024 Issue


While Governor Kathy Hochul said New York is “stronger, healthier, safer, and more affordable” than when she took office two years ago, there’s still work to be done.

“Our community investments, business development programs, and workforce initiatives are all geared toward making sure that our state continues to be a place where workers and families can achieve their New York Dream,” Gov. Hochul said during her State of the State address in January. “Through commitments to revitalizing our business districts, driving innovation, strengthening worker protections, and preparing our communities for the jobs and careers of the future, my administration is continuing its work to build a 21st century economy in the Empire State.”

New York State is “back at the cutting edge of manufacturing and innovation,” she said, thanks to a recent designation related to President Joe Biden’s Investing In America agenda.

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New York Statehouse Capitol Building in Albany (Photo: Adobe Stock/Christopher Boswell)


The U.S. National Science Foundation named the New Energy New York (NENY) Storage Engine a Regional Innovation Engine (NSF Engine), resulting in the facility receiving up to $15 million for two years and up to $160 million over a decade to “establish a hub that will accelerate innovation, technology translation and the creation of a skilled workforce to grow the capacity of the domestic battery industry,” according to Gov. Hochul’s office.

Several initiatives are planned to help other areas of the economy, such as removing barriers to hiring qualified candidates, supporting immigrant entrepreneurs, and establishing One Network for Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships (ON-RAMP), a network of advanced manufacturing training centers in Upstate New York. Other programs are focused on artificial intelligence, shovel-ready sites, and protections against wage theft and child labor law violations.

Fulton County, NY: Prepared For Growth

The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth (FCCRG) isn’t waiting for the completion of the high-tech industry’s expansion in New York’s Nanotechnology Triangle to act.

It’s proactively anticipating the needs of supply-chain businesses that will move into the county due to its prime location in the center of the Triangle; affordable commercial real estate sites and buildings; and tailor-made educational programs that supply a skilled workforce.

“In the ever-more competitive practice of economic development, having a place where a business can locate without having to invest heavily in site improvements definitely gives a community an edge up.”

— Jeff Janiszewski, Empire State Development

The FCCRG’s shovel-ready sites preparation initiative will result in quick and easy access for businesses relocating to the area.

Sandy Mathes, of Mathes Public Affairs in Coxsackie, conducted a countywide analysis of sites that could be transformed into shovel-ready locations. He found more than 200 sites. Mathes narrowed his list to the Top 20 potential development sites, providing FCCRG President Ron Peters and his team with a starting point for their development efforts.

“They’ve identified the top site that they’re going to be working on,” Mathes said. “They’re advancing their top site to a more predictable timeframe and being proactive with approvals at the state and local levels.”

The site’s high level of power availability was one attribute that catapulted it to the top of the list. Peters has been monitoring trends in the past five years of the growing requirement for high levels of electric power.

“The need for power has been increasing, and companies need sites like this with a lot of power provided to them,” Peters said. “This site is positioned well as an industrial park and also a place for advanced manufacturing.”

Peters estimated it will take roughly 18 months to get this top choice ready for companies to move in. Peters and his team of economic development specialists will also obtain certification from New York State as a shovel-ready site, taking advantage of Empire State Development’s FAST NY Shovel-Ready Grant Program. The program, which provides up to $200 million in grant funds to prepare and develop sites to shovel-readiness, will allow the FCCRG to make any necessary infrastructure improvements.

“In the ever-more competitive practice of economic development, having a place where a business can locate without having to invest heavily in site improvements definitely gives a community an edge up,” said Jeff Janiszewski, Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development/Global NY at Empire State Development.

The FCCRG also stands ready to assist incoming companies in formulating funding plans for their desired projects.

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Fulton County, NY is making workforce development and shovel-ready sites a cornerstone of its economic development plans. (Photo: Janene Bouck)


Plus, Fulton County is an ideal location for companies that supply the high-tech industry.

“The cluster for advanced manufacturing has grown,” Mathes said, referencing computer memory chip specialist Micron’s plan to build a $31 billion semiconductor chip plant in Clay, north of Syracuse, and GlobalFoundries’ 800-acre expansion of its $15 billion chip plant in Malta, NY.

This is in addition to Wolfspeed’s $1.2 billion fab near Utica and NY Creates’ research, development, and commercialization facility in Albany.

“Fulton County has excellent power capacity and access to major thoroughfares in New York State,” Mathes said. “Now that the cluster has gotten stronger, it is more enticing for supply chain companies to come into the area.”

Fulton Montgomery Community College also continues its workforce development efforts to meet employers’ needs for specially trained workers. The college partners with employers to create unique certificate, microcredential, and degree programs that provide the education and training required for rapid employment.

When businesses are ready to take advantage of what Fulton County has to offer, the county is prepared, with the FCCRG paving the way.

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