Otsego County Acceleration Center Would Capitalize On Upstate New York’s Booming Tech Ecosystem By Attracting Emerging Advanced Electronics Companies & Start Ups; Schumer Says USDA RISE Investment Would Strengthen Manufacturing and Tech Startups in Otsego County

With Major Funding From Schumer’s U.S. Innovation & Competition Act On Horizon To Boost Local Tech Companies Like Ioxus & Custom Electronics, Senator Says Acceleration Center Will Kick Regional Growth Into Overdrive

Schumer: Advanced Electronics Manufacturing Accelerator Can Be The Ladder Up Rural Otsego County Needs To Create Jobs & Supercharge Local Economy  

Continuing his advocacy to make Upstate New York a global tech hub, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a new push for critical federal support to create an acceleration center to stimulate new startups and manufacturing in Otsego County. In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Thomas Vilsack, Schumer backed the Otsego County Industrial Development Agency’s application to the USDA’s Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program to establish the Otsego County Acceleration Center and bolster the emerging advanced electronics cluster in the Southern Tier. Schumer said Otsego County is uniquely positioned to attract new tech startups, and this federal support would help the region create a one-stop shop for new tech businesses to easily access resources needed to grow, create good-paying jobs, and pursue microelectronics manufacturing, research, and development opportunities that directly benefit rural areas.

“The Otsego County Acceleration Center proposal will be a lightning rod to jolt new tech startups and manufacturing in the greater Oneonta area, spurring economic opportunity for some of our most rural, underserved communities, creating good-paying jobs, and supercharging the local economy,” said Senator Schumer. “With new, major federal investment in startups and manufacturing in the homestretch thanks to my U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the proposed Acceleration Center, in addition to local tech manufacturers like Ioxus and Custom Electronics, will position Otsego County to compete for these federal funds and help build the next generation of American manufacturing in Upstate New York. That is why I wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to say that Otsego County has all of the assets needed to build a robust rural innovation economy and bring manufacturing jobs back to America!”

“We have been working on creating our innovation/acceleration center for well over a year. It will be a place that fosters a culture of innovation through the creation, sharing, and testing of ideas,” said Jody Zakrevsky, CEO of Otsego Now. “The public-private partnership brings together non-profit economic development organizations, educational institutions, and established private sector companies. We welcome Senator Schumer’s advocacy on the Center’s behalf. Thank you Senator.”

“Ioxus looks forward to working with Otsego Now, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick, and other community members to bring together public and private organizations to help develop and bring to market new technologies through economic development through the Otsego Innovation Center,” said Chad Hall, Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations for Ioxus. “Senator Schumer’s assistance with the RISE program is critical to moving this project forward, and we are thankful for his support as we work to reinvent the Oneonta area as a technical valley between Albany and Binghamton, moving new capacitor, battery, and electronics to market, as well as establishing new business and creating jobs.”

Schumer explained that the USDA RISE grant program offers assistance of at least $500,000 and up to $2 million to regional rural coalitions of local governments, industry leaders, higher education institutions, and other entities to form job accelerator partnerships, create high-wage jobs, provide job training, expand businesses, and support economic growth in rural areas like Otsego County. Specifically, the Otsego County Acceleration Center would foster collaboration and innovation in the growing local cluster of advanced electronics companies, and would provide business assistance to help anchor new entrepreneurs and tech startups looking to grow in Upstate New York. The Center would provide business assistance, manufacturing planning, marketing opportunities, and workforce development through existing partnerships with SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College, and the Otsego Now Regional Workforce Training Center. The project is supported by a cross-section of local partners, including Otsego County, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College, the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship (CADE), and the Small Business Development Center at Binghamton University. Schumer said that Otsego County’s proposal is also unique, in that it has garnered support from local leading tech companies like Ioxus and Custom Electronics, which can not only serve as a model, but also stand to benefit from cross collaboration and supply chain development opportunities.

In addition, Schumer said that the development of this new accelerator, in addition to the region’s current presence of tech manufacturers, positions the greater Otsego County area to tap new federal investment from his USICA bill. In particular, his legislation:

  • Scales up federal investment in supply chains and American manufacturing, including $2.4 billion for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $1.2 billion for the Manufacturing USA program. This investment would triple the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which funds centers like the Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College, which to assists small and mid-sized manufacturers, including in Otsego County, with cybersecurity, workforce training, and supply chain support. Schumer’s bill also includes $52 billion in federal funds to expand domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D, which will boost the nation’s microelectronics industry, which could boost Otsego County’s burgeoning advanced electronics industry. His bill further creates a supply chain resiliency program to bring manufacturing back to America by supporting growth of companies like Ioxus and Custom Electronics, and helping address supply chain vulnerabilities that are driving up costs on working families and disrupting the economy.
  • Creates a new $10 billion Regional Technology Hubs program through the Department of Commerce to support regional economic development efforts to build hubs around the country to not only research and innovate technologies but also manufacture them here in America. The technology hubs would carry out efforts on strengthening manufacturing and domestic supply chains, workforce training, business and entrepreneur development, technology transfer and commercialization, and infrastructure improvements to boost innovation and manufacturing across the country.
  • Increases federal investment for (STEM) education and training programs. Schumer said that technical training programs at places like SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College are in a strong position to compete for these federal funds. The legislation also incorporates a series of new programs, including programs for STEM education for underrepresented populations, including rural students, and skilled technical education to prepare workers for tech jobs.

Schumer led USICA to Senate passage in June of last year. The House passed its companion legislation, the America COMPETES Act this past January. Last week, Senator Schumer took an important step to the bill advancing to final passage, announcing Conferees to the Conference Committee to reconcile differences between the Senate- and House-passed bills in order to send final legislation to the President to sign into law. 

A copy of Schumer’s original letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack appears below:

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by the County of Otsego Industrial Development Agency (COIDA) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program.

The proposed Otsego County Acceleration Center is a public-private partnership committed to supporting the Southern Tier’s burgeoning advanced electronics industry cluster. The close collaboration between partners will help entrepreneurs foster innovative concepts and deliver promising technologies to market. As the United States seeks to secure critical semiconductor supply chains, Otsego County is strategically positioned to further cultivate small and mid-sized advanced electronics manufacturing firms.  

It is critical that rural, low-income areas like Otsego County have the opportunity to participate in the economic development benefits associated with microelectronics manufacturing, research, and development. The Otsego County Acceleration Center will stimulate the formation of new businesses in the advanced electronics manufacturing industry, create or retain 60 high-wage jobs, and serve 24 start-up companies. Overall, this project will strengthen the regional economy and maximize the use of productive assets between Albany and Binghamton.

I applaud COIDA and the project partners for their foresight and sincerely hope the application is met with your approval. Thank you for your consideration.



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