12.13.21

FOLLOWING HIS DIRECT ADVOCACY, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES CENTERSTATE’S “SMART SYSTEMS CLUSTER” SELECTED AS ONE OF NATION’S FIRST AWARDEES FOR PHASE 1 OF BUILD BACK BETTER CHALLENGE, BRINGING $500K AND A NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT TO CENTRAL NY & THE MOHAWK VALLEY AS A RISING GLOBAL SEMICONDUCTOR, UAS & QUANTUM COMPUTING TECH HUB; PROPOSAL AIMS TO CREATE +5,000 JOBS, PRIME WHITE PINE FOR CHIPS INVESTMENT & TRAIN THE REGION’S WORKFORCE FOR EMERGING TECH FIELDS

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that following his direct advocacy, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has selected CenterState’s Smart Systems Cluster project as a finalist and Phase 1 awardee for investment through the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Schumer said this means the project will receive $500,000 in technical assistance funds to develop its proposal to expand the region’s semiconductor manufacturing industry, grow existing UAS and quantum computing industries, create over 5,000 new jobs, train workers to enter in-demand fields, and make critical infrastructure updates to White Pine and Marcy Nanocenter to attract major employers and their supply chains. Schumer explained that as a finalist the project will have the exclusive opportunity to compete for up to a $100 million federal award to the region through the EDA to implement the proposed projects.

“This is BIG news for Central New York and the Mohawk Valley. Now, many more will see what I’ve long-known: Central New York has all the right ingredients to be a major national tech and semiconductor hub! This award will provide $500,000 the region to compete for the exclusive next phase of this major national competition, making CenterState Smart Systems Cluster eligible for an up to $100 million federal grant to put the region on the map as a global tech hub, primed for more growth and job creation in industries like semiconductor manufacturing, quantum computing and UAS,” said Senator Schumer. “This project would make critical investments in infrastructure to get sites like White Pine and the Marcy Nanocenter ready for investment by major employers, promote job training to deliver a topnotch workforce, and transition cutting edge research into new startup companies. I am proud to have fought for the EDA to select the Smart Systems Cluster in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley for the Build Back Better Challenge and will continue to fight to secure the final award and help them receive further federal investment to drive the Upstate economy into the future.”

“This region is uniquely positioned to accelerate it’s already strong growth trajectory as a smart cities hub through this investment. The Build Back Better program will enable us to leverage regional experience in cluster development to scale our support to existing Smart Systems industries and those looking to find growth within our region. Furthermore, this investment aligns with our vision of equitable progress through large-scale workforce training programs. These resources are being matched with strategies and expertise to ensure that progress is driven forward rapidly. This award validates that our region is poised for growth within the industry and highlights how we are well positioned to connect those growth opportunities to the resources and talent needed to succeed. We are incredibly grateful to Senator Schumer for his stalwart dedication to this community, and for his leadership and vision that made this program possible,” said CenterState CEO President & CEO Rob Simpson.

Schumer said that the Build Back Better Regional Challenge received 529 Phase 1 applications from across the United States, and CenterState’s Smart Systems Cluster was one of 60 proposals selected as a Phase 1 awardee. Receiving this award will shine a national spotlight on Central New York and the Mohawk Valley as a rapidly emerging tech hub in the semiconductor, quantum computing, UAS and other critical tech industries.

Schumer explained that the CenterState NY Smart Systems Cluster proposal focuses on eight priority projects for accelerating innovation and growth in Upstate New York:

  • White Pine Commerce Park Infrastructure Improvements And Expansion
  • Marcy Nanocenter Flex Space Development (semiconductor supply chain)
  • Oswego County Industrial Park Expansion (semiconductor supply chain)
  • UAS Infrastructure Enhancements At The New York UAS Test Site
  • Centerstate CEO Tech Garden High-Tech Business Incubator Expansion in Downtown Syracuse To Attract Start Ups
  • Advanced Manufacturing Training With Educational Institutions To Build A Workforce Pipeline For In Demand Jobs
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics or STEAM Education School At A Renovated High School In Downtown Syracuse To Address Tech Skills Gaps And Train Youth For Jobs
  • Quantum Computing Research Investment And Infrastructure at Rome Lab’s Innovare Advancement Center

The project is backed by major regional stakeholders including CenterState CEO (lead), Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNYRPDB), Onondaga County, Oneida County, Oswego County, the City of Syracuse, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Rome Lab’s Innovare Advancement Center, Griffiss Institute, the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR), SUNY Upstate, Syracuse University, SUNY Morrisville, Onondaga Community College, Cayuga Community College, Mohawk Valley Community College, Syracuse City School District, OCM BOCES, Operation Oswego County and more. Schumer said this vast coalition speaks to the tremendous value the project holds for the community and broad support for seeing the area emerge as a regional tech hub.

The $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, funded by the American Rescue Plan that Schumer crafted and led to passage earlier this year, is designed to assist communities nationwide, with accelerating economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and building local economies that will be resilient to economic disruptions. The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is being implemented as a two phase program. In Phase 1, the EDA will provide $500,000 technical assistance grants to a select group of awardees. Those selected as Phase 1 awardees will be considered “finalists” and the grants will be used by the finalists to prepare more detailed applications to compete for a Phase 2 federal grant to implement transformational projects that benefit their respective geographic regions and that are aligned around a holistic approach to building and scaling strategic industries. In Phase 2, the EDA will award 20-30 regional coalitions $25 million to $75 million, and up to $100 million, for selected projects to grow new regional industry clusters or scale existing ones through planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital, and more.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s original letter of support for Centerstate Smart Systems appears below:

Dear Secretary Raimondo:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by CenterState CEO to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better grant program.

Serving as the Lead Institution, CenterState CEO is joined by Cayuga Community College, the City of Syracuse, the CNY Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB), the Griffiss Institute, Mohawk Valley Community College, Mohawk Valley EDGE, the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR), OCM BOCES, Onondaga Community College, Onondaga County, Oswego County, SUNY Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), SUNY Upstate Medical University, the Syracuse City School District, and Syracuse University. Each partner organization will also work within their existing networks to engage established and newly identified partners in the region.

This coalition has already identified and carefully vetted eight priority projects for the CenterState NY Smart Systems Cluster. With funding, the CenterState NY Smart Systems Cluster will; support infrastructure investments at the White Pine Megasite, build a flex space facility at Marcy Nanocenter at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, expand a shovel-ready site in Oswego County Industrial Park to drive Oswego County supply chain readiness, expand the CenterState CEO Tech Garden high-tech business incubator to attract additional startups, continue development of UAS infrastructure around the New York State UAS Test Site, launch smart systems cluster advanced training consortium to build a training pipeline for career opportunities in advanced manufacturing, renovate a historic high school in downtown Syracuse to address the tech skills gap and provide Career & Technical Education (CTE), and invest in quantum computing research and infrastructure.

I applaud CenterState CEO and partners for their foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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