Regional effort aims to secure Build Back Better funding

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ROME — Public, private, non-profit, academic and for-profit entities across the Mohawk Valley and Central New York regions have teamed up to submit a “phase two” application for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

The goal of the application is to help build on more than a decade of regional collaboration to develop high-growth technology sectors within both regions.

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge, or BBBRC, is a central component of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan. The 57 coalition partners proposed nine distinct and interconnected projects within the Mohawk Valley and Central New York, that would leverage more than $143 million against a federal investment of $92 million to advance opportunities in the region’s emerging “smart systems” cluster, while also integrating large-scale workforce development programs to ensure that regional growth is inclusive and equitable.

The goal is to create a ripple-effect that will result in on-going job growth and viability across economic sectors of both regions.

“This Build Back Better application is a prime example of regional cooperation,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente in a statement. The opportunity to enhance our investments in semiconductor and UAS technologies is critical to the future growth of Oneida County, the Mohawk Valley and Central New York...”

In a hyper-local focus, Rome City Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said that Griffiss Business and Technology Park is “leading us into the future of quantum computing, UAS, artificial intelligence research and machine learning... (the) proposals will support the larger ecosystem through workforce housing development, state of the art research facilities and growing our high-tech footprint within a 50-mile corridor to our R&D partners in the Syracuse area.”

Projects include:

White Pine Commerce Park: Invest $25 million in infrastructure at the 1,200 acre site in Syracuse, complementing existing assets to accommodate the specific site needs of a large-scale semiconductor manufacturer or a group of smaller advanced manufacturing companies and supply companies, helping to build the infrastructure needs necessary to grow the cluster.

Marcy Nanocenter Supply Chain Flex Space: Invest $7.75 million to build a flex-space facility for lease to supply chain firms looking to co-locate with Wolfspeed and Danfoss Silicon Power, who have already invested $1.5 billion and plan to bring 900 jobs. The facility will strengthen the I-90 (State Thruway) corridor between semiconductor investments in the Capital Region and Central New York.

Oswego County Supply Chain Site Readiness: Invest $7.5 million to build 10 shovel-ready sites supporting a minimum of 700,000 square-feet of new industrial facilities for employers that would create up to 1,200 new jobs. The site is strategically located within 10 miles of White Pine Commerce Park and with jobs accessible to disconnected rural populations.

Advanced Manufacturing Training Consortium: Invest $9.5 million to create a consortium of education/training providers and industry employers will engage 3,500 residents, focused on women and people of color. Anticipated placement rate is 80% into seven smart systems demand occupations to help increase and diversify the cluster’s workforce. The new collaborative workforce training model would engage Mohawk Valley, Onondaga and Cayuga community colleges; Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES, SUNY Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center; SUNY Morrisville and others.

Regional STEAM School — Focus: Education/Talent: Invest $10 million to renovate a historic school building located in a historically dis-invested Syracuse neighborhood within the Syracuse City School District (enrollment 20,000) into a regional Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics high school.

Center City Innovation Hub: Invest $8.3 million to support construction of two floors and renovations to CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden business incubator building, creating a new “Center City Innovation Hub.” The project would also include the launch of the state Center for Smart Cities and a new XBE focused accelerator program. The interior space and equipment original to its EDA-funded opening in 2004 will be updated.

UAS Health Care Commercialization: Invest $12 million in testing the safe and reliable commercial use of drones in partnership with SUNY Update Medical University Hospital in Syracuse using NUAIR’s FAA Certificate of Authorization to fly beyond visual line of sight, or BVLOS.

Smart Systems Quantum Runways: Invest $10 million to accelerate quantum science and technologies, critical for advancing smart systems components, technologies and product development.

CenterState NY Smart Systems Cluster Governance: Invest $2 million to build the coalition’s capacity to design, implement and iterate critical cluster enabler strategies around governance; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): equitable benefits and cluster growth sustainability.

Through the competitive application, coalition partners have highlighted the region’s unique strengths and assets that will enable it to help America innovate, re-shore and develop critical advanced manufacturing and supply chain networks. The development of shove-ready real estate and infrastructure will support and attract a wide range of advanced manufacturing companies and accompanying supply chain firms.

It is antiquated that projects will:

• Create upward of 23,600 new jobs;

• Leverage more than $11.3 billion in private investment;

• Increase the region’s gross domestic product by 3.5%;

• Create 588 new startups over the next four years;

• Train 3,500 through the workforce consortium;

• Graduate 250 per year from the STEAM School; and

• Invest $8 million in four years in XBE Systems.

Note: See Friday’s Daily Sentinel for related stories on local and global tech impacts.

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