FOLLOWING HIS DIRECT ADVOCACY, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES WESTERN NEW YORK ADVANCED MANUFACTURING CLUSTER SELECTED AS ONE OF NATION’S FIRST AWARDEES FOR PHASE ONE OF BUILD BACK BETTER CHALLENGE, BRINGING $500K AND A NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT TO BUFFALO & WNY AS A MANUFACTURING HUB; PUTTING THE PROJECT IN THE RUNNING FOR UP TO $100 MILLION FEDERAL INVESTMENT
BBB Regional Challenge Phase 1 Grant Will Provide $500,000 In Technical Assistance Funding To Develop Proposal To Bolster WNY Advanced Manufacturing Sector And Allow Cluster To Compete In Exclusive Phase 2 For Up to $100 Million Grant To Transform The Western NY Economy
Western New York Advanced Manufacturing Cluster Would Scale Up Innovation, Advance Inclusive Workforce Development, And Develop Infrastructure To Rapidly Expand The Growing Advanced Manufacturing Sector In WNY
Schumer: WNY’s Selection As One Of Nation’s First BBB Challenge Finalists Is A Game Changer—One Step Closer To Making WNY A Global Tech Hub!
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 the Western New York Advanced Manufacturing Cluster 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 scale up Western NY’s advanced manufacturing infrastructure, spark innovation, and enhance workforce development programs. 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 Buffalo and the entire WNY region. Now, many more will see what I’ve long known: Western New York has all the right ingredients to be the nation’s next tech hub! This award will provide $500,000 to the region to compete for the exclusive next phase of this major national competition, making the Western NY Advanced Manufacturing Cluster proposal eligible for an up to $100 million federal grant to revolutionize the region’s manufacturing sector, revitalize Buffalo’s East Side, and train the next generation for good paying jobs,” said Senator Schumer. “I am proud to have fought to ensure the WNY Advanced Manufacturing Cluster was selected by EDA as a finalist for the Build Back Better Challenge and will continue to fight to secure the final award and receive further federal investment to drive the Upstate economy into the future and solidify WNY’s place as the advanced manufacturing epicenter of the US.”
Schumer said that the Build Back Better Regional Challenge received 529 Phase 1 applications from across the United States, and the WNY Advanced Manufacturing Cluster was one of 60 proposals selected as a Phase 1 awardee. Receiving this award and entering the competition for Phase 2 funding will shine a national spotlight on Buffalo and Western New York as a rapidly growing advanced manufacturing hub.
Schumer explained that the Western New York Advanced Manufacturing Cluster proposal, submitted by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, would help train over 1,600 individuals for a career in tech over a 3-year period. The project would also work to fill gaps in the Western NY innovation ecosystem that will enable the region to become a national hub in key industries like vaccine production, utility infrastructure components, industrial gases, and precision motion control. The project would also reverse environmental degradation left by the region’s industrial past by cleaning up and revitalizing properties, including parts of Buffalo’s East Side, to attract new investment and create new jobs. The proposal also focuses on developing a more diverse, highly skilled workforce to meet the needs of growing employers and expand opportunity for more workers to access high-paying jobs. The project is supported by a vast coalition including the University at Buffalo, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Invest Buffalo Niagara, Launch NY, Buffalo Manufacturing Works, Northland Workforce Training Center, Goodwill of Western New York, SUNY Alfred, the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, and many more.
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 the Western New York Advanced Manufacturing Cluster appears below:
Dear Secretary Raimondo:
I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNY REDC) to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better grant program.
In 2011, the five westernmost counties of New York State formed a broad-based coalition as the WNY REDC. This coalition of government, business and community leaders quickly developed “A Strategy for Prosperity,” a regional economic development plan for targeted economic development. Since, WNY REDC partners have collaborated on: improved advanced manufacturing competitiveness; increased innovation through access to applied research and scaled testing facilities; improved productivity through the adoption of increased export assistance; prepared formerly industrial and manufacturing sites for expansion; grew an appropriately skilled workforce to meet advanced manufacturing labor needs.
With funding, WNY REDC, working with a diverse coalition of partners and secured matching funds of over $147,000,000, will pursue a range of projects including innovation and manufacturing, workforce development and infrastructure to support the region.
I applaud Western New York Regional Economic Development Council their foresight and
sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration.