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Congress members Higgins & Langworthy call on EDA to select upstate New York as regional technology & innovation hub site


Fri, Jun 9th 2023 02:50 pm

Western & Central New York regions in running for major federal investment to ‘catapult opportunities for upstate businesses & workers’

Western New York Congress members Brian Higgins and Nick Langworthy are calling on the U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA) to choose Western and Central New York as a national tech hub, a move they said would be a catalyst for business and job opportunity in the region.

Higgins and Langworthy, along with Rep. Joe Morelle, together represent 10 counties across Western New York. They are “working with other members of the upstate delegation,” “positioning the community for success in the nationwide competition, hosting several joint discussions with stakeholders to coordinate planning, and recently meeting with Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alejandra Castillo to understand program priorities and elevate awareness about Western New York’s application,” a press release stated.

Higgins said, “The United States is positioning itself to lead in global chipmaking and related technology, and Western New York is the community ready and able to deliver on this goal. With the Western New York delegation and community partners, we are working to demonstrate how our region’s innovation, education network, training support system – along with our long history of manufacturing success and hardworking people – provides the perfect recipe for tech hub success.”

Langworthy said, “With our demonstrated manufacturing success, the designation of Western New York as a tech hub would provide a unique opportunity that will spur innovation and economic growth for our nation. Our skilled workforce, combined with these resources, will unlock the potential of this region and propel the United States to the forefront of advanced technology manufacturing while bringing new employment opportunities. I’m proud to work with leaders across Western New York earn this significant investment in our communities.”

A press release stated, “Higgins and Langworthy addressed Western and Central New York’s forthcoming tech hub application at a visit to the proposed future site of the Larkin Workforce Training Center, located in the Larkin Center of Commerce, along with local manufacturer Tapecon’s production facility. The proposed Larkin Workforce Training Center, which would provide entry-level manufacturing workers with skills to advance in their careers at Tapecon and other local manufacturers, is the type of project which could be advanced through the tech hub program. Tapecon manufactures flexible electronic circuitry, which is part of one of the key technologies that the tech hub program seeks to advance.”

President Steve Davis said, "Tapecon is proud to be part of leading this initiative to help establish the Larkin Workforce Training Center as a Western New York employer-led, hands-on learning center. Its mission is to provide employers access to programs that upskill and reskill their employees along career pathways in electronics manufacturing and other in-demand industries, while also attracting and engaging the next generation of workers in our community.”

Partner agencies from industry, academic, economic development and government sectors across the Western New York regions that include the cities of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse are working collaboratively on an application due Aug. 15.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) will designate approximately 20 regional tech hubs across the country in phase I, awarding a total of $15 million (about $400,000-$500,000 each). Of the 20 awardees, EDA will select between five and 10 applicants to receive phase II implementation grants, which are expected to range between $50 million and $75 million. The tech hub program was established under the CHIPS and Science Act.

The press release noted, “The Western New York application will, in part, aim to make the region a leader in the expansion of U.S.-manufactured computer chips, building off Micron’s announcement that the company plans to invest up to $100 billion in a semiconductor factory in Clay, New York, near Syracuse. The vision would incorporate a synergetic approach to data science, green energy, photonics, and advanced manufacturing. In addition to making the U.S. globally competitive and strengthening national security, the joint effort would address industry needs for skilled workers in advanced manufacturing and give workers a path to job opportunities that allow for upward mobility.

“This new effort will build on the March 2022 visit of Assistant Secretary Alejandra Castillo, who heads the EDA, at a roundtable in Buffalo with Western New York business and community stakeholders to explore ways to promote economic opportunity in underserved communities, including technologies that would be components of a regional tech hub application.”

For more information on the tech hub initiative, visit TechHubs.gov.

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