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Chamber News Release

Senator Schumer Announces Major Push for Rochester-Buffalo-Syracuse Region to Become Prestigious Federally-Designated Semiconductor Tech Hub Through Nationwide Competition

August 17, 2023
Regional Tech Hubs Program, First Proposed By Schumer In 2019 In His Endless Frontier Act And Created In His CHIPS & Science Bill, Will Use Fed $$$ To Spur Innovation, Workforce Training And Bring Critical Industries Back To America—Schumer Created Tech Hubs Program With Upstate NY In Mind
Now 3 Of Upstate NY’s Major Cities Have Teamed Up In Proposal To Fundamentally Transform Region With Targeted Federal $$$, Boosting Upstate NY’s Booming Chip Sector, Attracting New Companies, Training Workforce, And Advancing Next Frontier Of R&D
Schumer: Rochester, Buffalo, And Syracuse Region Can Become America’s Semiconductor Superhighway

After years of relentless advocacy to bolster Upstate NY’s innovation and manufacturing industries, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced the Rochester-Buffalo-Syracuse region have joined forces with a proposal to become a federally-designated Tech Hub in the first-of-its-kind nationwide competition created in his CHIPS & Science Bill.

The proposal, entitled the New York Semiconductor Manufacturing and Research Technology Innovation Corridor Consortium (NY SMART I-Corridor), would build on the historic investments Schumer delivered that have spurred a boom in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation investments in Upstate NY. The three-region proposal would use targeted federal assistance to help attract new companies, strengthen domestic supply chains, launch startups & support innovation, expand workforce training, connect underserved communities to good-paying jobs, and revive this critical industry integral to America’s national security and economic competitiveness.

Schumer has personally written to Commerce Secretary Raimondo on behalf of Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse, making the case that their proposal is best suited to help drive forward stronger semiconductor and broader microelectronics industries for the entire nation.

“From Rochester to Buffalo to Syracuse the I-90 corridor has everything it takes to become America’s semiconductor superhighway. The NY SMART I-Corridor Tech Hubs proposal would tap into Upstate NY’s booming microchip industry, training our workforce for tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and supercharging R&D, all while helping attract new major employers in supply chain industries and bringing manufacturing in this critical industry back to America,” said Senator Schumer. “Each city has superb academic centers and each brings with it a unique set of assets with Micron’s historic investment in Central NY, Rochester as one of the leading centers in research & innovation, and Buffalo as one of the great manufacturing powerhouses that built America in the last century and is primed to do the same this century. Together they are a killer combination that can make Upstate NY a global leader for semiconductors with targeted federal investment from the Tech Hubs program. I originally proposed the Tech Hubs program years ago as part of my bipartisan Endless Frontier Act with Upstate NY in mind, and was proud to create the Tech Hubs competition in my CHIPS & Science Bill. This proposal is everything I envisioned, ensuring America’s future is being built in the places that helped build our nation as powerhouse manufacturing centers, and nowhere is better primed and more capable than Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse to rebuild this critical industry for our nation.”

“For generations, Rochester has been synonymous with innovation, and it has long been my priority in Congress to begin our new chapter of growth and prosperity with Tech Hub designation,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “This is an opportunity to build on the strengths of our unique communities, collaborate across specialized industries and reinvigorate the Finger Lakes region for years to come. I’m grateful to Senator Schumer for his support and appreciate his leadership in making this a priority for New York’s Congressional delegation.”

"I sincerely thank Senator Schumer and Congressman Morelle for their leadership in originating and supporting the Tech Hub concept. RIT takes seriously its responsibility to educate the next generation of students who will develop comprehensive solutions that enable the U.S. to play a leadership role in semiconductor manufacturing," said RIT President David Munson. "Together, working alongside our region's universities and colleges, and our partners in government and the private sector, we will focus on a collaborative approach to growing the semiconductor industry and preparing workers for exciting new careers in this vital field."

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “The Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region contains semiconductor and advanced manufacturing resources, talent, and scientific capabilities that rival any other in the United States – all within an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive. The NY SMART I-Corridor represents an incredible opportunity to further strengthen the collaboration between these three metro areas, creating a hub for advancement of industry-shaping semiconductor technology, enhanced national security, and a transformed Upstate New York economy. Greater Rochester Chamber thanks Senator Schumer and all of our partners in Buffalo and Syracuse for their tireless advocacy on behalf of our region’s Tech Hub application.”

“The University of Rochester enthusiastically supports the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region’s proposal to the U.S. Economic Development Administration Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) program and I want to thank Senator Schumer and Representative Morelle for their leadership and support in helping make this opportunity a reality. As one of America's leading research universities, the University has long been a hub for innovative ideas, technologies, and entrepreneurship,” said University of Rochester Vice President for Research Stephen Dewhurst. “As a proud partner of this transformational collaboration, we are excited to support regional efforts in research, education and workforce development, technology commercialization, and regional placemaking through our ongoing initiatives. The region’s potential for innovation led growth is well documented and we believe this proposed NY SMART I-Corridor will provide a path to an ever better future full of boundless possibilities.”

Schumer explained that the first-of-its-kind nationwide Tech Hubs Competition is an economic development initiative that he originally proposed in his Endless Frontier Act. The senator was able to finally create the competition in his CHIPS & Science Bill, which included a $10 billion authorization for the Tech Hubs program and was signed into law just over a year ago. Schumer secured an initial infusion of $500 million in last year’s spending bill to jumpstart the competition. The competition is designed to strengthen a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and grow technology in 10 key focus areas. The program will invest directly in regions with potential to transform into globally-competitive innovation centers in the next decade to bring critical industries back from overseas and create good-paying jobs for American workers.

Schumer said the NY SMART I-Corridor proposal would bring together the combined assets of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse to help the region become a globally-recognized semiconductor manufacturing hub in the next decade, with innovation focused on improving the quality and quantity of semiconductor manufacturing and, along with it, amplifying the region’s microelectronics and microchip supply chain ecosystem.

Schumer explained that the Tech Hubs program is being rolled out in two phases. The first phase of awards which the NY-SMART I-Corridor has applied for will designate promising Tech Hubs across America and provide strategy development grant awards to accelerate their development— the joint Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse proposal has applied for both types of awards. The EDA expects to designate at least 20 Tech Hubs across the country, and only those that receive the Tech Hubs designation in the first phase will be able to apply for Phase 2 implementation awards. These awards are designed to be larger, multi-tens of millions of dollars each for a first infusion, in order to fund several key initiatives to make the Tech Hub a success.

The Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse consortium includes over 80 members from across the public sector, industry, higher-ed, economic and workforce development, and labor communities.  This includes over 22 industry groups and firms, 20 economic development organizations, 8 labor & workforce training organizations, and 10 institutions of higher learning.  This application development process was led by three designated conveners, one from each region: The John R. Oishei Foundation in Buffalo, ROC2025 in Rochester, and CenterState CEO in Syracuse.  Specifically, the NY SMART I-Corridor Tech Hub proposal seeks to propel the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse corridor by attracting new suppliers to the region, including onshoring companies from overseas, advancing research & development programs for the semiconductor industry, training the next generation of Upstate New York’s manufacturing workforce, and specifically helping ensure that underserved populations are connected to the tens thousands of good-paying jobs expected to be created in this growing industry in the region.

Schumer said the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse corridor is uniquely positioned to rapidly address vulnerabilities in American semiconductor manufacturing, with the region having undergone a significant transformation in recent years to become a growing center for innovation and high-tech manufacturing. In fact, Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo respectively have been validated as the #1, #3, and #15-ranked metro areas in Jump Starting America’s Tech Hub Index System as the region’s best poised to become new Tech-Economy hubs if provided federal investment.

Schumer has been preparing Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse for this opportunity, working relentlessly to boost Upstate New York as a global tech leader. Schumer’s tireless advocacy has resulted in billions in proposed investments from the semiconductor industry spurred by his Chips & Science Bill. In the Syracuse region alone, Micron has announced an historic $100 billion investment to build a cutting-edge memory fab expected to create nearly 50,000 jobs. In Western NY,Edwards Vacuum will invest $300+ million to build a 600 job U.S. dry pump manufacturing facility to supply the semiconductor industry. With Schumer’s direct advocacy, Buffalo has already received $25 million for its growing tech industry through the American Recue Plan’s Build Back Better Challenge, laying the foundation for the Tech Hub designation they are applying for today. In the Rochester region, Corning Incorporated, which manufactures glass critical to the microchip industry, has already invested  $139 million in Monroe County – creating over 270 new, good-paying jobs in the Finger Lakes region.

Members of the consortium include semiconductor manufacturers and supply chain business like Micron, INFICON, Edwards Vacuum, Corning, Optimax, AMD, TTM Technologies, Saab, Akoustis, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Linde, Lifatec and SRC; business organizations like NY Photonics with 120-member companies, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association (RTMA) with 85-member companies, Buffalo Niagara Manufacturing Alliance (BNMA); education and research institutions like University of Buffalo, University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Monroe Community College, Syracuse University, Cornell , SUNY Oswego, SUNY ESF, SUNY EOC, and Onondaga Community College; workforce development partners like Centerstate CEO, Northland Workforce Training Center, RochesterWorks, RMAPI, UNiCON, WNY Area Labor Federation, Central-Northern New York Building and Construction Trades Council, IBEW Local 43, and many more.

A copy of Schumer’s letter of support to the Department of Commerce Secretary Raimondo can be found here.


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