President’s Message – July, 2017
First Year Forward
It has truly been a remarkable year at the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). I am constantly amazed by the outpouring of support we’ve received from our partners in the business, academic, government and nonprofit communities. I’m also impressed by how much CEG has changed with a renewed mission and clear set of objectives. We have much more in store for the Capital Region, and I want to thank our investors and partners for providing CEG with the resources and support to help grow the economy.
We’re continuing to build our list of investors after reaching our $6 million Accelerate capital campaign target during the first quarter. Recent months have seen Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Environment One and Excelsior College become CEG investors. View our Investor List.
Girls in STEM
CEG again organized the widely popular Girls in STEM at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART extension center in Malta on April 1. Reflective of this event’s growing popularity, registrations reached full capacity within two weeks of opening. More than 200 girls in grades four through eight attended this event, now in its fifth year. It features hands-on workshops and aims to pique girls’ interests in STEM fields and careers. CEG’s Girls in STEM partners include AT&T, Hudson Valley Community College, Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. Read the Daily Gazette’s coverage of the event.
The Pathways Project
Earlier this year CEG was selected through an RFP process to serve as the program manager of The Pathways Project for Advanced Manufacturing. CEG conducted this project for the Capital Region Workforce Development Boards supporting Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Warren & Washington counties.
The project’s goals were to: analyze and identify the transferable skills needed by manufacturers in the Capital Region; create a defined pathway for individuals seeking to enter into the manufacturing labor market; and provide key recommendations to help maintain a strong manufacturing labor pipeline.
To achieve these goals, CEG analyzed the transferable skills between manufacturing and advanced manufacturing in the Capital Region; explored the opinions and needs of manufacturing executives; and, analyzed the interests, hobbies, media consumption habits and career experiences of non-exempt manufacturing employees. For this analysis, CEG visited 17 manufacturers in the Capital Region and spoke to 17 CEOs and/or human resources executives at each respective facility. We also interviewed 46 non-exempt, manufacturing focused employees and distributed a transferable skills survey via email to more than 200 of the region’s manufacturers, yielding 44 responses.
CEG’s main recommendations developed as a result of this study are the following:
- Encourage incentivized referral programs;
- Expand current apprenticeship programs;
- Perform targeted outreach to potential pipeline candidates;
- Continue to grow sample of non-exempt employee interviews;
- Continue to support programs that highlight and promote manufacturing and increase awareness of opportunities;
- Implement a manufacturing bootcamp;
- Continue refining career pathways; and
- Identify new and alternate funding programs.
For our next step, CEG is exploring ways to create an online tool to better prepare our workers for careers in advanced manufacturing and to more easily connect them with manufacturers who are hiring. This initiative will be modeled after the first phase of a certificate program established by the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) that provides them with region-specific skills needed for entry-level manufacturing positions. The Pathways Project was funded by the New York State Department of Labor through a U.S. Department of Labor grant and managed through Columbia Greene Community College.
87/90 Semiconductor Summit
On June 8 CEG debuted the 87/90 Semiconductor Summit at the Saratoga Springs City Center. This was the first time in more than a decade that CEG has hosted the semiconductor industry in the Capital Region, continuing the tradition we started in the early 2000s with the Albany Symposium series at The Sagamore in Lake George. While SEMI has held its Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference (ASMC) in Saratoga Springs for the past several years, this an international technical conference, whereas 87/90 put the spotlight on the Capital Region’s semiconductor assets and innovations. More than 125 people attended the summit that highlighted the Capital Region’s semiconductor industry. We had an impressive lineup of speakers, which included:
- Howard Zemsky, President and CEO, ESDC
- Hugh Johnson, Partner, Hugh Johnson Advisors
- Gary Patton, CTO, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
- Jim Feldhan, President, Semico Research
- Rich Goldman, Silicon Catalyst Partner and Chancellor of Global Technology University
- Tom Salmon, Executive Director, Fab Owners Association
On June 29, CEG held its 21st annual Technology Awards at the Rivers Casino, with more than 225 people attending the event. This year’s awardees included:
- Economic Winner: Bestpass, Inc.
- Lift-Off: United Concierge Medicine
- Technology Innovation: Dumbstruck
- Judges’ Choice, Manufacturing: Regeneron
- Judges’ Choice, Technology: SpaceoutVR
- Technology Trailblazer: Antonio Civitella, President & CEO, Transfinder
- Jeffrey A. Lawrence Lifetime Contributor Award: Craig Skevington, Ph.D., Founder, CEO & President, Saratoga Technology Accelerator
See the Times Union’s Were You Seen photo gallery of the Technology Awards.
CEG continued to market the Capital Region’s technology sectors at trade shows across the country. Conferences that we attended included:
- Semiconductor Supply Chain Conference
- New York BIO Annual Conference
- The Confab
- SEMI ASMC Conference
- MedTech Conference
- MD&M East
- Select USA Investment Summit
Following up on our 87/90 successes, we attended SEMICON West in San Francisco from July 11 to 13.
Our Business Growth Solutions (BGS) continued helping Capital Region manufacturers grow and operate more efficiently. A National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Q1 survey found BGS’s economic impacts to include the following:
- Increased Sales: $3,375,000
- Retained Sales: $25,700,000
- Cost Savings: $891,500
- Increased Investment in Plant & Equipment: $750,000
- Increased Investment in Information Systems: $85,000
- Increase Investment in Workforce Practices and Employee Skills: $149,630
- Increase Investment in Other Areas of Business: $1,417,000
- Avoid and/or Save on Investment: $7,048,991
- Increase Investment in New Products and Processes: $50,000
- Jobs created: 12
- Jobs retained: 128
As of July 1, CEG’s Talent Connect program was serving 35 new professional hires who have or will be relocating to the greater Capital Region for employment with our investors. Five of them will be living in the United States for the first time and are receiving cultural transitioning tools. We are assisting 10 spouses/partners (of new hires) with local career support and networking opportunities.
On June 1, Talent Connect held a picnic for our newcomers at the YMCA Adventure Camp in Guilderland. To help attract more veterans to the Capital Region, Talent Connect will also be representing our employer and education investors at career and education fairs at Fort Drum in August and November, along with others to be scheduled for the fall.
The Capital Region’s overall score was positive, with 17 positive trending indicators, 12 negative and one unchanged. Labor force trends and their impacts of the unemployment rate and hiring weighed on the region’s general economic performance. Download all five CEG Q2 2017 Economic Scorecards here.