Members of the New York State Assembly delegation, including Assemblyman Joseph Morelle and Assemblyman David Koon, along with RIT President Bill Destler and Nabil Nasr, assistant provost and director of RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, also known as CIMS, today announced $800,000 in new funding, which is included in the 2007-08 state budget, to support a pair of CIMS’ programs, the Innovation Testbed and the Knowledge Clearing House. Assemblymember Susan John and Assemblyman David Gantt also requested the funding on behalf of RIT.
These two initiatives were among the key recommendations of CIMS’ Roadmap for the Revitalization of Upstate NY Manufacturing, a two-year, bottom-up analysis of upstate New York manufacturers that was funded with support from the New York State Assembly and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Both efforts will assist companies in implementing new technologies into their production processes, enhance technical knowledge and improve overall competitiveness.
The press announcement was followed by a roundtable discussion with regional manufacturing and economic development leaders, as well as representatives of the industry clusters that make up the manufacturing sector in upstate New York, which focused on the overall findings of the Roadmap report. The session also sought ways in which companies can collaborate to strengthen their own competitiveness and upstate economic growth.
“The key to future economic development will be innovation and partnerships between the private and academic sectors,” Morelle said. “The CIMS testbed and clearing house are precisely the sort of campus-based resources needed to support entrepreneurship and job creation in upstate, and indeed all across New York. It is an honor to be a part of this ground-breaking effort and to work with an institution of such renown and excellence as RIT.”
“The Roadmap report and these two very significant initiatives are demonstrative of the kind of university-industry collaboration that is made possible by unique resources such as RIT’s CIMS center,” noted Destler. “The outstanding members of our Assembly delegation who secured this funding have been strong and united proponents of CIMS since its very inception, and we are most appreciative of their continued investment and confidence in CIMS and RIT.”
“This funding will enable CIMS to go full speed ahead in working with manufacturing firms and other partners to help the target industries deal with the competitiveness challenges they are facing, create new business opportunities using new technologies, and identify potential inter-industry collaborations that will further strengthen economic growth throughout upstate,” said Nasr. “We look forward to a strong return on this investment for New York state.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues and again bring home much needed assistance to preserve and bring new job opportunities to our region,” added John. “The CIMS center is providing much needed assistance to our area manufactures, and will continue to provide resources to that industry so they may once again secure their competitive edge in manufacturing technology. I will continue my fight to bring jobs to the families of Rochester and will work with the CIMS center to ensure we are doing all that is possible to win that fight.”
“RIT has long been among the foremost leaders in addressing the challenges our region faces in turning around our economic fortunes, as demonstrated through the work of its Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and its Roadmap report,” said Koon. “I am proud to partner with my Assembly delegation colleagues to invest in the initiatives recommended in this report. I believe that the continuing work we are funding will have a dramatic impact on the manufacturing sector in upstate New York, and will be a critical component in our economic turnaround.”
CIMS’ Roadmap study sought to analyze the upstate manufacturing environment by surveying individual companies and cluster organizations, making on-site visits to dozens of manufacturing facilities, and engaging government, business and community leaders in an open dialogue regarding current assistance efforts and challenges facing businesses. The implementation of new technological innovations and access to technical knowledge about new market opportunities and industry trends are two areas the study highlights as requiring improved focus.
In response, the Innovation Test Bed and the Knowledge Clearing House will work with individual companies and cluster organizations to test, validate and implement new innovations and study and disseminate information on new market and product development opportunities. CIMS will also work closely with the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and Industrial Development Agencies to identify companies who need assistance as well as additional areas of focus.
“The tooling and manufacturing community is very interested in the proposed solutions generated by CIMS’ Roadmap Analysis,” added Kevin Kelley, Executive Director of the Upstate Tooling and Machining Association. “There is a need for these solutions that will now be provided through the Innovation Test Bed and Knowledge Clearinghouse. Only positive results can occur with their implementation.”
“Economic development has been my central focus for the past 15 years,” Morelle concluded. “By supporting CIMS and the priorities established by the roadmap study, we take another step toward restoring the prosperity that once defined our region and state.”