The Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse region has earned the federal Tech Hub designation created in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The bill included a $10 billion authorization for the Tech Hubs program.
An effort led by Sen. Charles Schumer, the designation is expected to bolster the region in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation. It places the region in a select group of 31 with the ability to compete for billions of dollars in federal funds. Upstate New York could position itself as a global hub for workforce training, innovation, and manufacturing of semiconductor technology.
“Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse are officially on the road to becoming America’s semiconductor superhighway,” says Schumer, who was in Rochester Monday. “I created this program with Upstate New York in mind, and now three of our own cities that helped build America have not only won the exclusive federal Tech Hub designation for semiconductors, but also won a once in a generation opportunity to write a new chapter for Upstate New York building our nation’s future.”
The designation is expected to help the three metropolitan areas to play a role in the semiconductor industry, attract new companies and train new workers.
“With this Tech Hubs designation highlighting the region as one of only a few in the country primed to be the next Silicon Valley in critical technology, combined with federal funding now flooding this triple-threat region, America’s semiconductor manufacturing industry truly couldn’t be in better hands,” Schumer says.
According to Schumer, the upstate consortium beat out hundreds of applications and was one of only 31 regions chosen for the Tech Hub designation. The Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse consortium includes representatives from the public sector (more than 80), industry, higher ed, economic and workforce development and labor. The application development process was led by three designated conveners, one from each region: The John R. Oishei Foundation in Buffalo, ROC2025 in Rochester, and CenterState CEO in Syracuse.
“Initial designation as a Regional Tech Hub validates what we have known all along—that our region is poised to lead the way in advancing a key national priority while creating transformational economic opportunity,” says Joseph Stefko, president of ROC2025. “The NY SMART I-Corridor builds on an unmatched array of assets and undeniable momentum, and offers an historic and unparalleled opportunity to impact our growth.
The NY SMART I-Corridor Tech Hub proposal will now be able to compete for the next phase of the Tech Hubs Program that will invest between $50 million and $75 million in each of five to 10 designated hubs, officials say. Schumer secured an initial infusion of $500 million in last year’s spending bill to jumpstart the Tech Hubs competition. Phase 2 awards will be made from that funding.
Already, businesses including Micron, Corning and Edwards Vacuum have viewed the corridor as an investment opportunity.
“After years of hard work, our region has been awarded Tech Hub designation, and I could not be prouder,” says Rep. Joseph Morelle. “This historic federal commitment will power our local innovation economy, create jobs, and fortify our position as a leader in the global tech landscape.”
Several other officials, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello voiced their support and joined in the hopeful stance for the region.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].