U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Bill Owens called on the U.S. Economic Development Administration to invest in a North Country Advance Manufacturing project that would create and sustain new jobs in the region. A joint proposal submitted by the North Country Chamber of Commerce (NCCC) and Clarkson University would support the growth of advanced manufacturing in transportation equipment and advanced materials in the North Country.
"This exciting partnership between Clarkson and the North Country Chamber of Commerce to conduct cutting-edge advanced manufacturing here is the North Country is about one thing: jobs, jobs, jobs. That is why I am strongly urging the federal Economic Development Agency to make this investment," said Senator Charles Schumer.
"Investing in this project would expand manufacturing opportunities in the North Country, helping to boost the local economy," Senator Gillibrand said. "This public-private partnership brings together local business with our Clarkson University to promote local manufacturing and create more good-paying jobs right here at home."
"The good work done in the North Country by our economic development leaders holds great potential to promote emerging manufacturing companies that are eager to create jobs in the region," said Rep. Owens. "This program will help us to attract new industries to the area as we continue to work with our friends and neighbors to boost economic growth in the community."
"We appreciate the active encouragement and support of the Senators and Congressman," states Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "They have each paid close attention to our Regional Economic Development Plan and its implementation, and have contacted us many times to suggest possibilities for moving agenda items forward or to offer their assistance. This is just the latest example. If we obtain this highly competitive funding, we and our partners will put it to good use in support of high level manufacturing in the North Country."
Clarkson President and Co-Chair of NCREDC Tony Collins said, "Workforce development and research supporting the needs of targeted business and manufacturing clusters in the region boosts job opportunities. Through this initiative, we are tapping our regional commitment to sustainability as well working to ensure the long-term viability of Fort Drum as a premier national defense asset. Personnel earning the highest salaries in our region work for utility and manufacturing companies. Growing manufacturing jobs will further diversify our economy and accelerate further job creation throughout our communities."
"As a member of the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership under NYSTAR, we are positioned to assist the Advanced Manufacturing organizations in the North Country to be more competitive through Innovation and Growth initiatives that this grant opportunity would support," CITEC Executive Director William P. Murray said. "This grant highlights CITEC's continued partnership with both Clarkson University and the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce to support manufacturers and technology companies in the North Country. We appreciate vision of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Owens to grow the economy of New York with this grant opportunity."
Local officials are hoping to build upon the North Country Regional Economic Development Plan which targets the Transportation Equipment and Advance Materials industries. Clarkson University would work with local regional manufacturers to develop solutions to strengthen and reduce the weight of materials necessary for manufacturing in these industries, as well as conserve energy using advanced material technology. NCCC would provide on-the-job training for current and new employees to develop the skills needed for working in advanced manufacturing. NCCC will also provide assistance to manufacturing businesses which would include technical assistance and assistance in government procurement. CITEC would provide assistance in improving the capacity of the organizations to deliver services and training across the region which would include market intelligence, innovation services, technology acceleration and performance tracking.
In their letter to Acting Administrator for Economic Development Matt Erskine, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressman Owens wrote, "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 North Country Chamber of Commerce has been focused on supporting and partnering with businesses looking to move to and grow in northern New York. As an outcome of NCCC's efforts as well as the work of other regional partners, the North Country has become an emerging center for the manufacturing of transportation equipment and advanced materials, successfully attracting major core companies in these sectors. For this initiative, the NCCC will partner with Clarkson University and CITEC to support advanced manufacturing in the North Country region of New York State, positioning the region to better compete in this growing sector to ensure the creation of new jobs in the region."