3 WNY grantees awarded $25 million
√ Plan will grow WNY’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem through workforce, innovation & infrastructure projects
Empire State Development announced U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Dennis Alvord visited Buffalo to kick off the projects awarded under the “Build Back Better Regional Challenge.” The EDA team met with the Western New York Manufacturing Coalition and held a roundtable discussion before concluding the visit with a tour of Buffalo Manufacturing Works and the Northland Corridor.
Gov. Kathy Hochul previously announced that the ESD Western New York Regional Office was awarded $25 million from the federal “Build Back Better Challenge,” the EDA’s marquee program under the American Rescue Plan.
“ESD welcomes the EDA team to Buffalo to kick off the federal ‘Build Back Better Regional Challenge,’ and we look forward to the positive effect it will have on Western New York's economy,” said ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “This transformational investment will help accelerate the efforts undertaken with our regional partners to develop and scale advanced manufacturing and train a skilled workforce to meet the needs of local industries.”
Alvord said, “EDA is pleased to support the efforts of the Western New York Manufacturing Coalition as it works to create jobs, promote equitable economic development, revitalize Buffalo’s manufacturing sector, and build a more diverse workforce in the region. We applaud these efforts to transform Buffalo and position Western New York for long-term growth and prosperity.”
The Western New York coalition charged with implementing the plan that was the basis for WNY’s “Build Back Better Regional Challenge”-winning application is made up of representatives from ESD’s Western New York office and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC), in partnership with University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI). The plan includes projects that will scale up existing advanced manufacturing strategies through projects to spark innovation, advance inclusive workforce development, and develop needed infrastructure. Partners include Buffalo Manufacturing Works; Goodwill of WNY; and the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.
The three funded project/program components included in the plan are:
•Small & Medium Sized Manufacturer Manufacturing Technology Program/Buffalo Manufacturing Works. This component will involve a program for local small- and medium-size manufacturers (SMMs) to overcome barriers to implementing technology features at their companies, including collaborative robotics (“cobotics”), to promote economic sustainability and job growth. Buffalo Manufacturing Works will build an “Industry 4.0” ecosystem – which seeks to revolutionize the way local companies manufacture, improve and distribute their products – and leverage partnerships with local SMMs, including hands-on training for upskilling current workers at these companies; programs for high school students to expose them to opportunities in advanced manufacturing; networking events/opportunities to collaborate on best practices on implementing innovation; and securing and fostering actual installations/application of cobotics, artificial intelligence, and other types of innovation at these companies.
•GoodSkills Career Builder/Goodwill of Western New York. Working in partnership with employers and trainers, Goodwill will expand a pilot program developed in 2021 to foster career on-ramps in advanced manufacturing for local unemployed/underemployed individuals, focusing on underrepresented and underserved communities in Buffalo and WNY. GoodSkills Career Builder will move these individuals into careers, with support from Goodwill’s activities in recruitment, assessment, training, and actual placement in a new job, with additional support after placement to foster retention.
•Northland Corridor Redevelopment Phase 3/Buffalo Urban Development Corp. The component will begin to renovate/restore remaining buildings on the Northland Campus to meet growing site demand of this emerging advanced manufacturing hub along Northland Avenue in East Buffalo. Buffalo Urban Development Corp. will redevelop two significant industrial buildings, complete a Clean Energy Microgrid, and enhance infrastructure to: create leasable space for local manufacturers and workforce training opportunities; grow new jobs/businesses; and provide low-cost electricity to the campus and adjoining residential neighborhood to promote equitable development in a distressed community.
The roundtable “focused on the importance of the ‘Build Back Better Regional Challenge’ and how it is providing generational investment in regional economies, driving economic recovery and putting communities across the country on the path towards economic competitiveness. The discussion also highlighted each grantee’s plans to foster the creation of and access to high quality jobs in innovative industries and ensure that all communities benefit from skill building, increased wages, and opportunities for advancement.”
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “This $25 million federal award will help propel local workers into meaningful, good-paying careers, advance opportunities for Western New York small businesses, and continue the federal investment in east Buffalo’s Northland Corridor. We commend Empire State Development, and project partners Goodwill of Western New York, Buffalo Manufacturing Works, and Buffalo Urban Development Corp., for their success in earning a spot as one of just 21 national winners receiving an award through EDA’s American Rescue Plan ‘Build Back Better Regional Challenge.’ ”
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Thank you to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for recognizing the lifechanging work taking place here in Buffalo and awarding $25 million in ‘Build Back Better’ funds to Empire State Development and Buffalo Manufacturing Works, Goodwill of WNY, and the redevelopment of the Northland Corridor/Buffalo Urban Development Corp. Congratulations to all.”
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “As the chairman of BUDC, one of the grantees of the ‘Build Back Better Regional Challenge,’ I look forward to using this funding to help continue the work we’re doing to develop the City of Buffalo. I would also like to congratulate the other Western New York awardees. The ‘Build Back Better Regional Challenge’ will support the great work my administration has done to equitably expand opportunities for our city’s residents.”
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. Learn more at www.esd.ny.gov.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in economically distressed communities to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.