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After Helping Land Historic Funding For BU Last Year Through The Build Back Better Regional Challenge To Establish A Battery R&D Hub, Schumer Has Secured Another $1.5M For The Project, To Help Spark New Efforts To Bring Cutting-Edge Start Ups To The Region And Create New Good-Paying Jobs

Schumer: Fed $$$ Will Supercharge This Project To Establish A Battery Manufacturing & Innovation Hub In The Southern Tier

Building on long-standing advocacy to help bolster Binghamton’s emerging battery hub, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced $1,500,000 in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for Binghamton University for its New Energy New York (NENY) project. This funding, which is made possible by the historic funding boosts the senator secured for the ARC and matched with dollars from the $63.7 Million Build Back Better Regional Challenge award the senator secured last year, will bolster the growing NENY workforce and entrepreneurship programs. Schumer explained that this will help expand efforts to attract cutting-edge battery startups and supply chain companies to the Southern Tier, as well as supercharge workforce training programs to get local workers and students the skills and hands-on experience they need to secure good-paying jobs in the battery industry.

“Another jolt of federal funding is on the way to further power Binghamton’s booming manufacturing, innovation and workforce development hub. I am proud to deliver this $1.5 million federal investment from ARC, matched with the major $63+ million in funding I secured for Binghamton through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, to spark more growth for the New Energy New York project,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding will power the next generation of workers to get the skills they need to enter the battery industry, and connect innovative startups and cutting-edge supply chain companies with the resources they need to help make their home in the Southern Tier. Binghamton University is leading the charge to bring the battery industry back to America, and this funding will help to strengthen those critical efforts. I will continue to fight to keep this economic engine for BU juiced up to reach its full potential.”

“This additional funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission will expand the impact and reach of the NENY program. While NENY is positioning Upstate New York as a national hub for battery innovation, manufacturing, and workforce development, this new investment will allow the initiative to further support economic resurgence and regional community development in distressed ARC areas,  leading to high-paying jobs in R&D and manufacturing." said Binghamton University Associate Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development Per Stromhaug. 

Schumer explained that this funding will bolster Binghamton University’s New Energy New York project, specifically helping expand their emerging programs for workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurship. This includes establishing a Technology Development Voucher Program that will provide financial support and help startups get access to BU’s shared resources and equipment for research and development efforts for battery storage startups, and small to medium-sized businesses. In addition, the Battery Sector Supply Chain Development will be expanded to help attract battery supply chain manufacturers to the Southern Tier, connecting them with the local resources they need to grow their possesses. The project will also bolster the Southern Tier Energy Storage Workforce Development through fellowship opportunities and hands-on learning and training opportunities to help get workers and job seekers connected to local jobs in the battery industry.

In addition to the $1,500,000 in ARC funding, the project is matched by other federal, state, and local funds. This includes $1,352,007 from the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge that Schumer secured for Binghamton University in 2022. State sources will also provide $23,220 and local sources will provide $124,773 in support of the project, bringing the total funding to $3,000,000.

This past August, Binghamton University’s New Energy New York project became a finalist for up to $160 million in the National Science Foundation’s Regional “Innovation Engines” Competition (NSF Engines), which was created by Schumer’s CHIPS & Science Bill. Schumer has launched an all-out push to secure this major award for Binghamton University – including personally calling NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan to advocate for the Southern Tier-based battery hub.

Schumer has long advocated for federal investment to boost Binghamton’s battery manufacturing and R&D. One of Schumer’s first major acts as majority leader was leading the American Rescue Plan to passage to both bolster America’s response to the pandemic, and boost the long-term economic recovery of regions that needed it most through programs like the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. As the Regional Challenge program was stood up and Binghamton University developed its battery hub proposal, Schumer began personally advocating to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo for the selection of the Southern Tier for major federal investment. In December 2021, following Schumer’s advocacy, Binghamton’s project was selected as a Phase 1 awardee out of over 500 applications from around the country to compete for a final award. In April 2022, Schumer personally visited the Southern Tier to double down on his advocacy, standing with Dr. Whittingham, to reiterate his support and urge federal leaders to select Binghamton as a final Regional Challenge awardee.

In June 2022, Schumer, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger, and Dr. Whittingham, all joined forces and penned a joint op-ed on the importance of bolstering battery technology for America’s future to again try to elevate the profile of the project. Finally in September 2022, Schumer secured Binghamton’s spot as a final awardee, with a $63.7 million federal investment, one of the largest grants, which was matched by $50 million in funding from New York State, to help make the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes a national hub for battery research and manufacturing. Shortly thereafter, Schumer brought U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Alejandra Castillo, to Binghamton, to show the Biden administration firsthand the potential the Southern Tier has to be a national leader as a hub for battery innovation. Schumer also brought Nobel laureate Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham as his guest to this year’s State of the Union to highlight Binghamton’s national leadership in battery technology.

In 2021, Schumer secured $1 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that he negotiated in the Senate for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) over 5 years, increasing the budget to $200 million per year through 2026. The investment provided additional support for economic development, infrastructure, workforce, and other community development projects and programs to improve the quality of life and create new business growth and job opportunities across the Southern Tier and throughout the Appalachian region of Upstate NY.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments, focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community, capacity, and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. New York State receives an allocation of resources from the ARC each year to fund area development in NYS’s 14-county Appalachian Region. The New York counties are represented by one of three Local Development Districts: Southern Tier West (STW) based in Salamanca, NY and comprised of Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties; Southern Tier Central (STC) based in Corning, NY and comprised of Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties; and Southern Tier 8 in Binghamton, NY and comprised of Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Tioga and Tompkins counties.