FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2011
SCHUMER: STATE-OF-THE-ART MARIST CLOUD COMPUTING CENTER NEEDS $3.5 MILLION FOR CONSTRUCTION – SENATOR LAUNCHES PUSH TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR PROJECT THAT COULD CREATE HUNDREDS OF JOBS IN DUTCHESS COUNTY
Marist-IBM Partnership To Create High-Tech Cloud Computing Center Would Create Hundreds of Good-Paying Local Jobs and Make Dutchess County Ground Zero For Growing Industry, But Construction and Operational Funds Are Still Needed
Schumer Pledges To Seek Funding Through Federal Programs Including National Science Foundation & Departments Of Commerce and Labor To Help Get Cloud Computer Center Built and Running
Schumer: We Must Get Cloud Computing Center Off The Ground
Today, at Marist College, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer toured the Hancock Center and announced that he is seeking federal funding to help finance the $3.5 million construction project to create the New York State Cloud Computing Center at the college. Marist has partnered with IBM to drive an effort to build a cloud computing center on campus that would employ hundreds of Hudson Valley workers in a rapidly growing, high-tech field. While the project has attracted substantial private investments and has received about $2 million in federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Marist & IBM are still seeking several million more to build the center. At Marist, Schumer announced his effort to work with federal agencies including the Economic Development Administration within the Department of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Labor to pursue federal investments to jumpstart the construction and operations of the center that could lead to hundreds of jobs and make Poughkeepsie ground zero in cloud computer hosting in New York. The Center will support all levels of business development in the Cloud Computing sector, driving innovation and deployment of new technologies and filling the anticipated need for newly trained high-tech workers.
“Cloud computing at Marist isn’t just pie in the sky, it means jobs on the ground in Dutchess County,” said Schumer. “This incredible project taps two of the Hudson Valley’s greatest resources, IBM and Marist, in a tandem effort to create hundreds of jobs in one of the fastest-growing high tech sectors around. I’m launching this push today to help secure federal funding to get this project off the ground because the Hudson Valley is a proven leader when it comes to growing IT businesses, and we need to make sure that the future of cloud computing happens here in Dutchess County. The federal government should invest in this project that, simply put, has endless possibilities.”
Schumer was joined by Marist President Dennis Murray, officials from IBM, Mike Oates of the HVEDC and the Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce as he announced his push to turn the vision of the New York State Cloud Computing Center into a job-creating reality for Dutchess County and the State of New York. Current research has identified cloud computing and business analytics as technologies that will drive growth within the IT industry across the global economy, creating thousands of jobs in the process. Demand for trained workers in these fields is already growing and Schumer is pushing to help finance the remainder of the NYS Cloud Computing Center construction project so the initiative can create and retain an estimated 3,667 jobs in the Hudson Valley.
Cloud computing marks a major shift in how computer services are delivered to people and organizations. It is a computing architecture that provides IT infrastructure, platforms, software, education, and services over a network in a self-service and on-demand manner. In the past, companies had to purchase their own computers, set up their own networks, install and update their own software, hire and train their own IT staff, and purchase enough capacity to handle peak workloads. The construction of this center at Marist would put Poughkeepsie at the center of this new technology wave, and would provide support to the thousands of existing small, medium and large software and technology businesses in the Hudson Valley.
Schumer is urging the Economic Development Administration within the Dept. of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and the Dept. of Labor to work with the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation to identify funding opportunities for the remainder of the $3.5 million construction of the New York State Cloud Computing Center. Specifically, Schumer is pushing to explore construction funding opportunities in the Economic Development Administration’s upcoming funding cycles (regular and disaster), worker training funding in the Department of Labor’s upcoming Workforce Innovation opportunity, and equipment funding in upcoming National Science Foundation grants. This funding would supplement an existing $70 million in private investment and approximately $2 million in federal funding from the NSF.
Research analysts have identified Cloud Computing and Business Analytics as two technologies that will drive growth within the IT industry in the local Hudson Valley and global economy. It is anticipated that job opportunities and demand for Cloud and Analytics will continue to grow for at least the next five years, and Schumer wants that growth to occur in the Hudson Valley. If Marist and IBM’s initiative is fully funded, this construction project and development of a cloud commuting center at Marist would aim to retain and create 3,667 permanent, full-time, good-paying jobs in the region.
Schumer noted that the Hudson Valley is a prime location for the development of a cloud computing center. In 2010 in the region, there were 1,463 IT businesses and more than 20,000 jobs in related occupations within the region, with the highest concentration of IT professionals in Westchester and Dutchess Counties, and the highest concentration of data centers located in Rockland County. In addition, the Hudson Valley is anchored by the presence of IBM, a world leading computer manufacturing company with sites in Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, Somers, Armonk and Yorktown Heights. The Hudson Valley is also home to a highly educated and skilled workforce, uniquely qualified to support such a computing center.
The New York State Cloud Computing Center will spur job growth by deploying a variety of IT services via a public cloud. IT services can be anything from distribution of software, applications and platforms to infrastructure and other development projects. These services spur job growth across the spectrum of large, mid-sized and small businesses. The Center would provide a highly virtualized environment that would offer new systems and technologies for area companies to utilize in there ventures.
Schumer noted the extensive benefits that such an IT cluster would bring to the Hudson Valley, with the NYS Cloud Computing Center at the heart of that effort. The Center would support IBM, and other large, established companies and research organizations, to assure their continued growth and leadership in the region. The Marist-IBM initiative would also foster growth of mid-sized businesses and attract new businesses to the region, as well as help small businesses grow by delivering affordable IT services and expertise. The computing center would provide IT services to businesses across all clusters, regions, and market segments. Finally, the NYS Cloud Computing Center would offer on-site and virtual incubation and support for start-ups, and workforce development and consulting services for Hudson Valley businesses.
In his letter to these federal agencies, Schumer noted that the mission of Marist and IBM to develop the New York State Cloud Computing Center fits squarely with the Administration’s goal of fostering economic growth through regional innovation clusters. The Computing Center would support all stages of business development in the cloud computing sector – from innovation to product launch and workforce training. Rather than continuing reliance on foreign-born labor for Information Technology jobs, Schumer noted that the IBM-Marist plan addresses this need head-on. With over $70 million of private funding secured, the Center is only $3.5 million short of the funds needed to begin construction. There are also long-term equipment and worker training resources that will be needed.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter appears below:
Dear Secretary Solis, Assistant Secretary Fernandez, and Director Suresh:
I write to urge that you join me in an effort to turn the vision of the New York State Cloud Computing Center into a job-creating reality for Dutchess County and the State of New York. As you may know, current research has identified cloud computing and business analytics as technologies that will drive growth within the IT industry across the global economy. Demand for trained workers in these fields is already growing and some analysts predict that there could be a short-term void of labor in this growing market. Consistent with President Obama’s goal of fostering economic growth through regional innovation clusters, the New York State Cloud Computing Center would support all stages of business development in the cloud computing sector – from innovation to product launch and workforce training. Rather than continuing our reliance on foreign-born labor for Information Technology jobs, the IBM-Marist plan addresses this need head-on. With over 70 million dollars of private funding secured, the Center is only $3.5 million short of the funds needed to begin construction. There are also long-term equipment and worker training resources that will be needed. Therefore, I ask that you specifically begin working with the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation to explore construction funding opportunities in the Economic Development Administration’s upcoming funding cycles (regular and disaster), worker training funding in the Department of Labor’s upcoming Workforce Innovation opportunity, and equipment funding in upcoming National Science Foundation grants.
The New York State Cloud Computing Center is an historic partnership between a technology behemoth, the IBM Corporation, and a leading academic institution, Marist College. The Center would be a physical and virtual regional innovation cluster – a first-of-its-kind center offering businesses a complete set of Cloud services and Analytics tools, as well as a sustainable system that helps businesses grow from inception, through start-up, to profitable enterprise. As you know, the President’s focus on innovation clusters has been rightly centered on fostering an environment of cooperation between the public and private sectors. In the case of the New York State Cloud Computing Center, the IBM Corporation has pledged more than $10 million dollars per year for hardware, services and other IT support and attracted additional capital from smaller technology firms across the Hudson Valley. Marist University, home to the NSF-funded Institute for Data Center Professionals, has also pledged capital funds and is continuing to build a curriculum and training paradigm around the growth of this field. And if the presence of these two great institutions were not enough, consider the fact that in 2010, the Hudson Valley was home to over a thousand IT businesses and more than 20,000 jobs in related occupations.
The Cloud Computing cluster, in addition to its tremendous potential to innovate and grow wealth for companies, will also serve a number of public goods. First, the development of the Center will spur middle-class job growth by deploying a host of enhanced IT services through a “public cloud”. The public cloud would allow for small and medium sized companies to take advantage of a local service that provides the most cutting-edge innovations in cloud software, applications, infrastructure, and workforce training. Through the support of IBM, small businesses will be able to not only access the latest software applications in Business Analytics, but also feed off of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and experts innovating in this field. These factors will attract new companies to the region and perpetuate job growth in this new cluster.
Second, the “Workforce Development Cloud” component of the Center will provide access to existing and new companies to the types of affordable training courses needed for firms to stay competitive in the 21st century. These courses and services will be an outgrowth of the vast training resources already present at Marist University.
Third, it will allow the continued growth of the IBM Corporation in the Hudson Valley, as the supporting environment of the IT cluster will provide advancements in innovation and the talent needed to remain competitive globally.
Finally, one of the most important long-term goals of this initiative is to provide displaced workers in economically distressed regions in the Hudson Valley with the type of training and re-training environment that will allow to obtain jobs in this growing sector. While the unemployment rate might be significantly lower in Westchester than it is in Dutchess, the cluster concept presented here could allow for significant growth in areas in distress, as workers and companies continue to see the Hudson Valley as the home of Cloud Computing innovation.
These are just some of the reasons that the New York State Cloud Computing Center is an excellent candidate for Administration support and a winning strategy for the Hudson Valley. Please feel to reach out to my staff if you have any questions.
Charles E. Schumer