News Release - Mayor Warren Announces U.S. Department of Commerce Recognizes Rochester as a Leader in Manufacturing Community and Workforce Development

City of Rochester

News Release

(Wednesday, May 28, 2014) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that the New York Finger Lakes Region, led by the City of Rochester, has received designation as a “Manufacturing Community” by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). The IMCP program was announced by President Obama in March 2013 to assist communities that are still hard-hit by the recession, particularly after downsizing and closing of major corporations and economic drivers.

The Rochester region is one of only 12 regions nationwide to receive this designation, following a stringent and competitive process. The designation offers selected communities preferential consideration for up to $1.3 billion in federal dollars and assistance from 10 federal agencies.

In selecting Rochester, The White House wrote that “With over 120 photonics manufacturers and more than 500 photonics patents last year alone, the Greater Rochester region, led by the City of Rochester, is bringing new life to manufacturing business parks and expanding its workforce development efforts to maintain its historic lead in precision machining and optics, photonics and imaging.”

“I am thrilled that Rochester’s value as a global manufacturing hub with unlimited potential is being recognized by the Department of Commerce and the Obama Administration,” said Mayor Warren. “I want to thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Congresswoman Slaughter and all our partners in the Greater Rochester area and in Washington who worked side-by-side with me and my administration to earn this important distinction. Make no mistake -- Rochester is on the map as one of the nation’s most vibrant, skilled and innovative cities to do business.”

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, “This designation is an absolute game changer that will boost Rochester's advanced manufacturers to new heights by giving local businesses a leg up in competing for up to $1.3 billion in new resources; that is why this award was the top priority of Mayor Lovely Warren, and why we fought so hard to deliver it. It means the job-creating investments of 10 federal agencies will be focused like a laser on Rochester, giving Rochester-Finger Lakes institutions preference for hundreds of millions in upcoming grants to advance Eastman Business Park, create new shovel-ready manufacturing sites, train workers to fill available manufacturing jobs, and help local manufacturers expand.”

“It is both an honor to be chosen for such an important designation as well as an acknowledgement of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region's historic strength in advanced manufacturing,” said David Zorn, Executive Director and Revolving Loan Fund Relationship Coordinator of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council. “We are proud to be a part of this consortium that includes the City of Rochester, the nine counties of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region, academic organizations and universities, as well as economic development, community and workforce development organizations.  We look forward to working together to continue our efforts to build upon the manufacturing strength of the region.”

“Manufacturing is certainly an important part of our community's storied past and this designation confirms something we've been saying all along: manufacturing, especially advanced and high-tech, will drive our economy of the future as well,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “Monroe County was proud to work collaboratively with Mayor Warren and local partners to help prepare a winning application and we thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and our entire federal delegation for their support.This is welcome news that can and should make our entire community very proud.”

The Greater Rochester/Finger Lakes manufacturing revitalization strategy will advance and strengthen its existing advanced manufacturing clusters of precision manufacturing and optics/photonics/imaging. The strategy builds on the region’s historic leadership in advanced manufacturing, its strong higher educational system and training programs and its extensive physical infrastructure. It includes strategies to incubate new companies, grow existing small and medium manufacturers, and attract new foreign companies to the region. '

Key components of the regional manufacturing strategy include:

• Enhancing the region’s nationally recognized training programs to identify and train qualified high school graduates who can fill middle-skill manufacturing jobs through the Multiple Pathways to Middle Skills Jobs Initiative, and development of the Finger Lakes Regional Center for Workforce Development;

• Reinventing the region’s supply chain networks to attract new end users to our locally manufactured components, and to develop linkages locally that take advantage of our strong industrial clusters in precision manufacturing and optics, photonics and imaging;

• Expanding investments in the region’s world renowned research and innovation programs to foster the creation and growth of early stage companies and promote greater academic-industry partnerships that transform research and innovation into results oriented processes for manufacturing businesses;

• Revitalizing and enhancing the Eastman Business Park and developing other shovel-ready sites for new and expanding manufacturing businesses;

• Expanding international trade and foreign investment opportunities by strengthening our global connections through promoting incentives such as the START-UP NY initiative, participating in national and international trade shows, and improving linkages of company marketing and expansion efforts with state resources and global market data;

• Identifying and leveraging new sources of capital to spur the development of new businesses and the expansion of existing small businesses through creation of a business expansion fund, development of the proposed Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative, expanding the Finger Lakes Regional Photonics Cluster Industry Lab, and developing an investment fund which promotes the links between the region’s higher education system and industries exploring emerging markets.

Rochester Business Alliance President and CEO Sandy Parker said, “Since its days of internationally recognized large scale manufacturing, Rochester has reinvented itself to become home to a number of thriving advanced manufacturing businesses, particularly in the areas of optics, photonics, and precision manufacturing. This IMCP designation provides Rochester with the resources needed to help expand the markets of advanced manufacturers already present as well as support the establishment of new businesses. Our region offers manufacturers the infrastructure, transportation alternatives, and access to higher education institutions that make it the ideal location for future growth. The IMCP designation accelerates our manufacturing resurgence and leads to additional job opportunities for our residents. We applaud Mayor Warren for her leadership on this collaborative effort.”

“Thanks to this new designation as one of the first 12 Manufacturing Communities included in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, the Finger Lakes Region’s economic development leaders will have access to federal grants that will fuel our resurgence as a hub of advanced manufacturing innovation,” said Mark S. Peterson, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise.

“The designation for the IMCP program is great news for the greater Rochester region,” said William Destler, President of the Rochester Institute of Technology. There is no community that is better positioned to lead the way in advancing the competitiveness of the nation’s manufacturing sector, and we look forward to working with all of the partners in this effort to capitalize on this designation and drive additional federal resources to the region in support of this goal. We appreciate the leadership of Mayor Warren and her team on this initiative, and the support and advocacy of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter for the Rochester proposal.”

“The University wants to thank President Obama and our Congressional delegation for this critical designation,” said University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. “We are proud to partner with Mayor Warren and thank her for her leadership in galvanizing the community to develop a comprehensive plan to help overcome challenges and revitalize our region’s manufacturing sector.  By building on our region’s strengths, particularly in optics, photonics, and imaging optics, we can foster innovation, spur economic growth and create jobs.”

“Achieving this designation is a major step in bolstering our area’s advanced manufacturing industry, creating more opportunities for middle-skill careers, and strengthening our local economy,” said Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress. “As a partner with the City of Rochester in this federal initiative, we are grateful that the Obama administration believes in our vision to help transform the economic landscape of the Greater Rochester area by strengthening the manufacturing workforce pipeline.

Our efforts with the City of Rochester are an example of how we can work together and leverage our resources to achieve a successful model of economic and workforce development.”
Anchored by the City of Rochester, the nine county region of more than 1.2 million people has been a center for advanced manufacturing for many years. Up until the mid-1990s, the Rochester region led the state of New York in manufacturing, exports, job creation and other economic measures due to major regional employers such as Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb.

“Despite these recent setbacks, manufacturing has consistently remained as one of the top employment sectors in the region,” said Warren. “Buoyed by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit, intellectual capital, and infrastructure, the area’s manufacturing sector is resurging in the form of smaller, diversified industries and advanced manufacturing, particularly within the fields of optics/photonics/imaging and precision manufacturing. It is this industrial heritage that allows the region to leverage our core strengths in the existing precision manufacturing and optics/photonics/imaging industries to grow jobs for the new age of American manufacturing. This is a simply wonderful day for Rochester,” she finished.


News Media: For more information, contact Communications Director Christine Christopher at 428-7135.