Letter to Secretary Vilsack, Department of Agriculture, and Acting Administrator Erskine, Economic Development Administration

Letter

By:  Chuck Schumer Bill Owens Kirsten Gillibrand
Date: May 30, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens today announced a new effort to help attract new businesses and new jobs to the North Country by filling gaps in supply chains for local businesses that specialize in advanced manufacturing, such as transportation technology, clean energy, computer technology, biotechnology and aerospace.

Currently, North Country manufacturers can sometimes suffer from long waits and high shipping costs for supplies -- slowing economic growth and job creation. To help combat this trend, the Plattsburgh - North Country Chamber of Commerce has applied for federal funds from the Department of Agriculture and the Economic Development Administration to identify gaps in manufacturing supply chains where existing or new North Country businesses could create jobs by filling the gap.

"When there are holes in the manufacturing supply chain, I want to see them filled by North Country workers," said Senator Schumer. "We've proven time and time again that North Country workers will out work and out hustle the competition, and will deliver high quality products when they're asked. This investment would build on that success, and ensure that we continue to ship products from New York's back yard to the rest of the country, and the world.

"This federal funding is so important for the North Country's economy," said Senator Gillibrand. "We're already home to the hardest workers and a proud manufacturing tradition. When we give them more of the tools and resources they need, they can take their businesses to the next level, support job creation, and attract new businesses to the North Country."

"The North Country holds great potential to house and promote emerging manufacturing companies that are eager to create jobs and grow the economy in the region," said Rep. Owens. "This program will help us to highlight the bright future we have ahead of us and attract new industries to the area."

"Together with our partners at CITEC, we believe we have developed a meaningful program in support of advanced manufacturing in the region and we appreciate this encouragement and support from Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Owens, as well as Senator Schumer," said Garry Douglas, President of the Plattsburgh - North Country Chamber of Commerce. "We are looking forward with enthusiasm to the possibility of turning our proposed plan of work into reality for companies across the North Country."

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Economic Development Administration, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Owens are urging the agencies to support an application by the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce, working in partnership with CITEC, for federal funding from the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

Specifically, the funding would be used to map and analyze advanced manufacturers' supply chains to identify gaps, build connections with other businesses in the region, and encourage new businesses that produce necessary supplies to locate in the North Country -- filling gaps for existing businesses and fueling their growth, while bringing new jobs to the region in the process.

Additionally, through CITEC's existing access to the Commerce Department's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the funding would provide advanced manufacturers with services to cost-effectively develop new products, identify new markets and better utilize regional resources for the growth of their companies. The funding would also help support job training opportunities, giving local workers the skills they need for good-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing, and supplying local businesses with a skilled workforce to meet their individual needs.

The official's letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack and EDA Acting Administrator Matt Erskine is below:

Dear Secretary Vilsack and Acting Administrator Erskine,

We write in support of the application submitted by the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CITEC for funding from the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Economic Development Administration. This funding will support an advanced manufacturing cluster aimed at identifying gaps in products and services needed by advanced manufacturers in northern New York.

The North Country Region of New York is a rural area of the state that has been devastated by job losses and reduced investment over the past few decades. The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce has been focused on reversing these trends by supporting and partnering with businesses looking to move to and grow in northern New York.

The requested funding will support advanced manufacturing through a three-year program, covering five North Country counties, that includes mapping and analyzing advanced manufacturers' supply chains and building connections with providers within the region or attracting providers to fill defined gaps. The Chamber will utilize the results of the skills gap study and mapping project to identify businesses that could potentially expand their product lines to meet the needs of their customers and help them with business planning and access to financing. The Chamber's partner, CITEC, which has access to a network of experts as a part of the Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Extension Partnership, will provide growth and innovation services to assist advanced manufacturers in the region to cost-effectively develop new products, identify new markets and utilize regional resources. Using available resources through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, CITEC will also develop and provide customized training services specific to the needs of individual companies. In addition, this project will work to match existing educational resources to the needs of employers, providing training to new and existing employees that can close the skills gap to ensure an adequate workforce is available for advanced manufacturers to tap into while growing their operations. This strategic initiative has the potential to fundamentally transform the North Country economy, further attracting and growing advanced manufacturers that will create good-paying jobs for the region.

We ask that you please give this application your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.