Economic development council hosts Clinton

September 28 marked the day of a state-wide forum. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that $4.4 billion will be appropriated over the next five years to five leading international companies to promote the advancement of nanotechnology—more specifically, computer chips. Cuomo also divided up the state into 10 regional economic development councils; the Capital District Region is led by Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. Each of these councils is coming up with an economic plan, and the top four plans will be adopted. From a federal perspective, this deal has the potential to create 6,900 more six-figure jobs statewide. On the behalf of RPI’s student body, Anasha Cummings ’12, the Rensselaer Chair of Senate Advocacy, Community and Advancement Committee, attended this meeting.

The five international companies that were chosen for this economic investment are IBM, Intel, GlobalFoundries, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and Samsung. Over the next five years, they will also use part of this money to build or expand facilities in five locations—Albany, Canandaigua, Utica, East Fishkill, and Yorktown Heights. With this plan it is believed that 800 new jobs will be created at the Albany Nanotech Complex, 950 at IBM Yorktown and IBM East Fishkill, 450 at SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, and 300 at the College of Nanotech in Canandaigua. Krishnan Sugavanam, an employee at the IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center at Yorktown, believes that this plan will indeed ease the current economic situation.

This is an important event as it is the inception of a deal that may be the backbone to innovation as well as help solve our current economic problems of unemployment. To mark the significance of this Open for Business event, Cummings stated that each regional economic development council leader, was present along with several other inspirational leaders such as former president Bill Clinton, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini, IBM’s Vice President John Kelly, and Jackson and her cabinet. Clinton’s speech was particularly remembered for what he had to say regarding the future of the Capital Region and what the council should aim to accomplish. He additionally applauded New York for getting this investment by beating out entire countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and said that this plan serves as a paragon for a state that is Open for Business.

Cummings stated that he found it extremely important that Jackson was present along with the rest of her cabinet, as this plan could directly affect the RPI community—particularly research done at Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. He found it very inspiring when Clinton claimed that colleges should play a bigger role in innovation dealing with the importance of clean energy and green technology because strides towards these goals will help create new jobs. This is consistent with Cummings’ view that climate change, although a problem, is also a great economic opportunity as well as that technology transfer polices, the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem, and Technology Park are all key for our institution to turn innovation into business in the capital region.

Over the next few months the ten Regional Economic Development Councils of New York State including the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Long Island, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York will be devising their plans on the specificities on how this great sum of money will be divided, and the top four plans will be chosen. Cummings asserted “although conflict may be great for politics, cooperation does indeed win the day.”