Teamwork Puts CNY in Strong Place to Vie for Economic Opportunities (Guest Opinion by Robert M. Simpson)

Posted on December 19, 2021


CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson was featured as a guest contributor on, sharing thoughts on Central New York being chosen as a Phase 1 recipient from the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) competition for federal economic development funds.

The Upstate Revitalization Initiative, the FAA designated New York UAS Test Site, JPMorgan Chase AdvancingCities, and CNY as a top performer for the Regional Economic Development awards. These are just a few of the wins our region has secured that have had a significant and direct impact on Central New York’s economic growth trajectory. While all are unique in their focus, there is a common undercurrent to each’s success - a coalition of partners shared a common vision and developed a data-driven strategy to align our regional assets to an emerging opportunity. Now, our community is leaning into this proven formula again as we advance in the $100 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) competition for federal economic development funds.

Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced Central New York and Mohawk Valley region were among 60 finalists from more than 500 applications nationwide. This region punched above its weight class to position itself for a highly competitive investment because of the support of leaders like Senator Schumer, our federal delegation, and the coalition of public, academic, nonprofit, and private sector partners.

Our collaborative application focuses on building upon our region’s long-standing strengths as a hub for advanced manufacturing and smart systems. By leveraging our region’s existing assets, we believe that we can support federal efforts to reshore critical semiconductor manufacturing, accelerate our UAS and quantum computing industries, and create thousands of new jobs and trained workers to fill them.

In addition to leveraging our region’s strengths, this approach aligns with the CHIPS for America Act, a federal bipartisan bill that provides investments and incentives to develop semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the United States, protecting U.S. industries such as defense and automotive from reliance on Chinese chips and influence.

Our greatest strength as a region is our ability to succeed, against the odds, by working together. Our BBBRC coalition members includes Cayuga Community College, the City of Syracuse, CNY Regional Planning and Development Board, Griffiss Institute, Mohawk Valley Community College, Mohawk Valley EDGE, NUAIR, OCM BOCES, Oneida County, Onondaga Community College, Onondaga County, Oswego County, SUNY Educational Opportunity Center, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse City School District and Syracuse University; as well as partners SUNY Poly, Le Moyne College, the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Cornell University, SUNY ESF, and SUNY Oswego. All are engaged in the development of our strategic plan to ensure this region wins the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Together, we are rewriting the narrative of this community and we will again realize the economic impact of our shared vision for success.

Read the piece on, here.

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