President’s Message – April, 2020
It has now been a month since the issuance of the executive order that called for the shutdown of all in-person nonessential work in New York State. Like many businesses, the Center for Economic Growth closed our office and our professional staff have continued to work from home. Also like many other businesses, our work has changed. The Daily Gazette succinctly described our transformation in a recent article, saying, “CEG has had to make a pivot of its own: Its focus in normal times has been to bring new companies into the region. Within a few weeks, it has shifted to keeping existing companies from leaving or failing.”
In all actuality, CEG Business Growth Solutions (BGS) has been doing this work for decades, as part of the New York State Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). What is different now is our BGS team is using its armory of tools and resources to aid manufacturers and technology companies recover from a declared, prolonged national emergency.
We’ve done this work through recessions and in response to weather-related emergencies, and I can think of no other group that is more prepared to help Capital Region businesses navigate a pandemic than the one we have at BGS.
Here is a snapshot of CEG efforts:
- Manufacturing protective personal equipment for local essential workers, through a Rensselaer County IDA-sponsored partnership with the Center of Gravity and Benet Laboratories at the Watervliet Arsenal;
- Assisting nearly 40 businesses with making PPE equipment for our healthcare professionals;
- Consulting 25 businesses on strategies for growth and future workforce issues;
- Secured over $70,000 in grant funding for businesses making the PPE equipment; and
- Housing weekly webinars with the Chief Executives Network for Manufacturing
Here are other ways we’ve pivoted:
- Through our COVID-19 Updates webpage and consulting services, we are cutting through the mounds of information out there and providing the Capital Region business community with essential intelligence.
- CEG has gone from helping companies establish talent pipelines through apprenticeship and certification programs to developing strategies to retain their talent.
- Our Talent Connect team has surveyed our investors about their talent needs, and we are highlighting on our website those who are actively hiring.
- We have opened to all Capital Region workers the VCC’s JobPath job search tool, which currently features more than 4,000 job openings.
The Capital Region will get through this crisis. Our economy is resilient. We are continuing our industry attraction efforts so the region is ready to seize opportunities when they emerge both during and after the shutdown ends. Since mid-March we’ve worked on initiatives to brand and market the Capital Region’s digital gaming cluster and to support the growth of several local studios. We’re positioning the region to become a major supplier to the offshore wind (OSW) industry through our repeated engagements with our ports and manufacturers and international OSW developers. We are also working with our partners on strategies for the further development of key regional sites such as the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if your business is in need of assistance. Consider CEG a first responder for the business community. We can help. Please contact us here. #CapitalRegionResilience
Andrew Kennedy, President & CEO