President’s Message – January, 2020
CEG ended 2019 with strong momentum. We represented the Capital Region’s key industry clusters at more trade shows and conferences, identified more project leads, started new technical support projects with local manufacturing and technology firms, garnered more media hits, expanded our social media reach, onboarded more apprentices to help our businesses continue to grow, and much more.
As we enter 2020, the focus of CEG and its professional staff remains on the following:
Industry Attraction: Continuing to be a resource to companies looking to invest in the Capital Region;
Business Growth Solutions: Resources to help local businesses compete and grow; and
Talent Attraction and Development: Attract, retain & develop a competitive workforce.
Top Performer Awardee
At the ninth annual Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards last month, the region was awarded $84.1 million for 120 projects. That was the third largest award total in nine years & the most projects funded. It was the fourth time the region was recognized as a Top Performer, meaning it was among the top five awardees and will receive an additional $20 million in Empire State Development (ESD) grant funding to support priority projects. Ten projects identified as priority projects by the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) were awarded $12.2 million, and an additional $6 million was awarded to 11 Council-designated regionally significant projects.
Priority project examples include:
BOCES Center for Technology Education Expansion: $5 million
SPAC Roosevelt II Rehabilitation Project: 2 million
Flach Development Hotel and Event Venue: $2 million
Dagen Port Schenectady: $1.56 million
Community Loan Fund Incubator Expansion: $800,000
CEG assisted the CREDC on preparing its 2019 Progress Report, which the state’s Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT) weighs in the REDC process.
The Capital Region Brand Initiative is our broad-based effort to unite the eight-county region under a united banner in order to attract Millennials and investment during this ever-increasing talent war. In September, we kicked off the initiative and have made excellent progress on all fronts. The brand concepts – developed by Fingerpaint, Overit and collectiveffort – are being tested with a target audience of Millennial professionals this month. Nearly $700,000 toward a goal of $1.1 million has been raised, and we have built a strong coalition that includes business leaders, regional Chambers of Commerce, economic development agencies and more. Brand launch and rollout for this transformative project are slated for late spring.
In 2019, CEG represented the Capital Region’s key industry clusters at 27 trade shows and conferences, compared to 25 the previous year. Through these and other initiatives we’ve identified 161 project leads that we are pursuing, up 73 percent from the previous year. Looking to Q1 2020, we will be representing the region’s semiconductor industry at SEMI ISS; the digital gaming cluster at the Game Development Conference and PAX East in Boston; the life sciences cluster at BIO CEO & Investor in New York; and our cleantech cluster at the Offshore Wind Executive Summit in Galveston, Texas.
Business Growth Solutions
The professional team at BGS had a busy 2019, completing 85 projects and starting 76 new projects with manufacturing and technology firms in the Capital Region. The most recent National Institute for Standards and Technology quarterly survey found BGS had the following economic impacts in the region:
- $59.6 million in new sales,
- $68 million in retained sales,
- $6.4 million in client investments, and
- 268 jobs created and retained.
Talent Connect: We are broadening and enhancing our talent attraction efforts by representing CEG investors at a new lineup of career fairs in the Northeast and more aggressively courting alumni who left the region and may be interested in returning. We will also be outreaching to career counseling offices at colleges and universities within a three-mile radius of Albany, to be better familiarize them with the opportunities within the region for their students.
Apprenticeship Programs: We recently launched a first-of-its-kind-in New-York computer support technician apprenticeship program with SUNY Adirondack and Tech II Business Services, a Saratoga Springs provider of managed IT services, business telephone solutions, video surveillance security solutions and IT Support.
Manufacturing Pathways: In January, CEG, through a KeyBank grant, supported the launch of Hudson Valley Community College’s seventh Manufacturing Technology Pathways boot camp. Since launching in January 2018, 65 students completed the first six boot camps.
Certified Production Technician (CPT) Program: CEG, through a KeyBank grant, will support SUNY Schenectady’s launch of two CPT classes in the spring. Eighteen students completed the first two CPT classes in fall 2018 and spring 2019.
Veteran Connect Center: In 2019, the VCC engaged 40 transitioning service members and veterans. In 2020, the VCC will continue to educate and communicate with the transition offices of every military branch about the opportunities in the capital region. We are planning a new strategy with the transition office at Fort Drum that may include their office conducting a site inspection of our region and then an employer tour of Fort Drum.
Activity Snap Shot
The economy in general remains strong with the unemployment rate standing at 3.3 percent and labor force growth steady for the first 11 months. However, across all scorecards, there was an easing from peak levels seen earlier in previous quarters. For example, after posting all positive indicators in Q2 and Q3, the General Economic Scorecard in Q4 only had two positive indicators. The Manufacturing Scorecard only had one positive indicator, whereas in Q4 2018 it had five.