President’s Message – October, 2019
2019 continues to be a strong year for the Capital Region. Organizations are increasingly engaging CEG to help identify and understand what resources and opportunities are available. Through these efforts, CEG has better positioned the region for economic growth. Thank you for your continued support and confidence in the operations and activities of CEG.
Our signature event, the 32nd Annual Meeting will be on Thursday, Nov. 21 at WMHT’s studio in the Rensselaer Technology Park. Register here.
In addition to our core mission, CEG is continuing to support important efforts such a:
Regional Branding Initiative: The Regional Branding Initiative is a coalition of businesses and organizations from the eight counties of the Capital Region, working to create a joint narrative to attract talent and investment to the region. By creating a brand that encompasses the 1 million residents, 24 higher education institutions, affordability, history, geography, culture and lifestyle of the Capital Region, we can gain the attention of the 40 million people and 20 million workers who live within 180 miles of Albany. Currently, we’re suffering from only 30 percent awareness of the term “Capital Region” with $100,000 earners in New York City and Boston, while the surrounding regions have 90 percent and higher awareness. Our companies and universities are struggling with recruiting and retention of talent and students. This broad-based regional branding effort is designed to address this challenge.
CEG is the lead investor in the Regional Branding Initiative. Participating companies and organizations include Albany Med, National Grid, MVP Health Care, Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, Rosenblum Companies, an investor group led by Dan Nolan, and many others have committed funds to this $1.1 million effort.
Capital Region Economic Development Council: Once again, CEG took the lead in preparing the annual report for the state of New York’s Regional Council Competition. The report features 12 projects that have been identified as priorities for 2019. View the report here.
For the remainder of 2019, CEG and its professional staff remain focused on
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.
CEG has maintained its aggressive industry attraction efforts that includes attending 23 events and working with public and private entities for 107 projects – with 27 in the third quarter alone. We have provided them with information about our sites, regional economic conditions and the vibrancy of our eight county Capital Region.
We are actively pursuing the following opportunities:
Investments in our ports and local companies to participate in the emerging offshore wind production industry;
R&D and commercialization with our colleges and universities especially in the areas of nanotechnology, life sciences, and clean energy;
Promoting strategies that continue grow in our digital gaming and software industries; and
Marketing over 20 regional sites that have immediate development opportunities for large scale projects.
Business Growth Solutions:
The professional team at BGS continues to see strong demand for its services and is on pace to exceed performance targets. So far, BGS has completed 59 projects for local manufacturers and tech companies and opened 63 new projects. According to the latest survey, BGS’s economic impacts included:
- $9.7 million in new sales,
- $68.1 million in retained sales,
- $6.4 million in client investments, and
- 267 jobs created and retained.
Specific projects that BGS has supported include:
Vara Safety, a Latham startup that has received BGS’s support, in Q3 made the first shipment of its biometric gun holsters, called Reach. See the announcement.
CEG, in partnership with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, completed a Lean 101 training program as part of a larger Defense Diversification Initiative (DDI) grant that was awarded to Jay Molding of Cohoes. Jay Molding manufactures a variety of lanterns, retrofit kits, assemblies and replacement parts for U.S. military. The grant was part of a program offered by Empire State Development and the Department of Defense to assist highly leveraged military suppliers diversify their offerings into non-military markets.
CEG also leveraged the DDI grant for Cosmo Optics of Albany, which manufactures specialty custom optics for the U.S. military. The funding helped Cosmo explore new commercial market opportunities through CEG’s Technology Driven Market Intelligence (TDMI) program and take steps toward ISO 9001.
Our efforts to support and expand the region’s skilled labor force includes the following:
Talent Connect: We’ve marketed employment opportunities in the region at 10 Northeast career fairs through Q3 and are currently serving 14 relocated professionals (and their families) who were referred by CEG investors. The new hires have relocated from as close as Boston to as far away as Nigeria.
Apprenticeship Programs: We are helping local manufacturers and software firms fill mid-level positions by serving as the administrator for apprenticeship programs. To date, we have onboarded 20 apprentices for Beech-Nut, Jahnel Group, MVP Health Care, Electrometrics and Troy Web Consulting.
Manufacturing Pathways: This CEG/KeyBank-supported boot camp at Hudson Valley Community continues to quickly skill-up workers for entry-level positions in the region’s manufacturing sector. A sixth boot camp is scheduled for January 2020. To date, 65 individuals have completed the program over five cohorts since January 2018.
Certified Production Technician Program: Eighteen students have completed this CEG/KeyBank-supported at SUNY Schenectady since starting in fall 2018. A third cohort started last September and a fourth is scheduled for January 2020.
Veteran Connect Center: This new CEG program has engaged 24 transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses since launching last April. The VCC is assisting them in relocating to the Capital Region and connecting them with local resources for career and educational opportunities.
Activity Snap Shot
The total number of positive-trending indicators declined by two to 19, when compared to the previous quarter. The lower score was caused by declines in manufacturing employment and CDTA ridership. Of note: the region’s unemployment rate in August rose for the first time this year and other indicators, such as labor force, started to trend negative in the summer. Download the Q3 2019 CEG Economic Scorecards.