‘Lots of money’; Federal tech hub designation for Rochester-Buffalo-Syracuse market

ROCHESTER, N.Y.Elected officials are calling it good news for the future of our local tech workforce. The Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region is receiving a federal tech hub designation. Think jobs in the semiconducting industry.

Senator Chuck Schumer said it’s one of the most competitive awards in the country.

He created the regional tech hubs competition as part of the CHIPS & Science Act. The Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse rose to the top, with 31 other regions in the nation.

The designation could mean a lot of federal dollars, and jobs.

It was a packed turnout on Monday for the announcement at NextCorps, a business development company that helps launch tech start-ups.

Schumer said the designation is a prestigious one, recognized by President Joe Biden.

“Cutting edge industries we need for America’s future will want to come here.”

Officials said this is a designation to support semiconducting jobs in the 1-90 corridor; aka Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.

The cities work together, sharing resources and even employees who commute down the thruway.

To better understand what semiconducting is, think of everyday items in your life.

“If you have a cell phone, if you have almost anything that moves, including children’s toys, a chip is involved, this is centerpiece of everything we need to do,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “Not only from national economic point of view, but from national security point of view.”

Some examples of the local companies affected, include Edwards Packaging in Genesee County, Corning’s Fairport Computer Chip Facility, and Optimax in Wayne County.

“This is a ten billion dollar program,” said Schumer. “Once you get in, there’s going to be lots of money.”

Also directly affected by the news, are colleges like University of Rochester and Monroe Community College.

Dr. DeAnna Burt-Nana, president of MCC said they’ve been seeing a rise in enrollment for programs like optics.

“We anticipated the grow this workforce for the community, region and state. And so we are part of making sure we fuel the pipeline of talent.”

The three cities will now be able to compete for the next phase of the tech hubs program, that will invest between $50 and $75 million dollars in each of the five to 10 designated hubs.

Schumer said he secured an initial $500 million in last year’s spending bill, to jumpstart the competition.