NY SMART-I Corridor gets $40 million in federal funds

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The New York Semiconductor Manufacturing and Research Technology Innovation Corridor consortium has received $40 million in federal funding. Rochester is part of the NY SMART-I group, with Buffalo and Syracuse.

Over the next five years, the consortium will serve a critical role in supporting Upstate New York’s continued growth into a globally competitive center of semiconductor workforce development, innovation, and manufacturing—part of the continued transformation from rust belt to innovation belt, the state says. 

The grant, a phase two Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs allocation awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, also unlocks $8 million in matching funds and additional resources from Empire State Development. 

“With this transformative federal grant, New York is taking another major leap toward building Chips Country in our state,” says Gov. Kathy Hochul, who expressed her gratitude to Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Joseph Morelle for their support. “This award will help to bring the next generation of semiconductor research, manufacturing, and workforce training upstate and unlock even more funding—on top of our other state investments—to attract chipmaking businesses and jobs.”

Last fall, the NY SMART-I Corridor was awarded one of 31 Tech Hub designations by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, from a pool of nearly 400 regional applications. It is one of four semiconductor tech hub designations in the nation. 

The consortium spans the Western New York, Finger Lakes, and Central New York regions and is convened by the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership, ROC2025, and CenterState CEO, state officials say.  That translates into more than 80 members from economic development, government, workforce development, labor, industry, academia and nonprofits. 

“Today’s announcement that the NY SMART I-Corridor is among the handful of newly funded Federal Tech Hubs validates the power of collaboration, and serves as a significant inflection point for our entire region,” says Joe Stefko, president of ROC2025 and NY Smart I-Corridor Tech Hub regional innovation officer.

“Three years ago, we set out to build a new, coordinated vision for the Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse corridor, one laser-focused on advancing semiconductor production and supply chain,” he adds. “The targeted investments this Hubs funding enables—in workforce, innovation, and advanced manufacturing—position us to lead the way across the full semiconductor value chain, and in so doing, expand economic opportunity for all across our entire corridor.”

The Tech Hub aims to build a semiconductor ecosystem across areas like equitable workforce development and talent placement, research and commercialization pathways. This work will be done in partnership with leading academic institutions, chip manufacturing supply chain growth and development, and technology innovation. 

The consortium, managed by a multi-sector implementation governance committee, will serve as a key coordinating body for semiconductor industry growth alongside the Office of Semiconductor Expansion, Management, and Integration at ESD.

“New York State’s efforts to re-shore the semiconductor industry in a way that emphasizes smart and strategic growth, equitable and diverse workforce development, and cutting-edge R&D and innovation are a model for the nation and the world, “ says Hope Knight, ESD president and CEO and commissioner. “Funding for the Tech Hub provided by the Biden administration will help us realize this shared vision to build a thriving innovation sector, increase our domestic semiconductor supply chain, and protect our economic and national security—all while creating good jobs for all New Yorkers.”

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]

One thought on “NY SMART-I Corridor gets $40 million in federal funds

  1. Having written a few press releases in my day, this one is awfully wordy. Yet I’m having a hard time discerning what the deliverables are here? Yes, somebody got a matching grant, congratulations. Besides PC phrases like “equitable workforce development”, what should I take away from this (especially if I’m a Senior in one of NYS’s High Schools with the Regents apparently optionally abandoned ) and I ask my Guidance Counciler what is in this for me? Wafer Fab operations? Design ? Packaging? Software systems? What are the secondary education paths available to be considered for hire? I read some local speculation recently on Social Media where one person shared that there are Veterans Programs for Semiconductor training which will make the applicant eligible for a $100K/YR Job? (I spent my career in Semiconductors, I seriously doubt this career path exists.) Without some clarification and knowing what kind of fine print is usually buried into these grants (mandatory day care for example) this reads like a advertisement for DEI and Unionized factories.

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