United States Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer visited Oneonta late last week to back Otsego Now’s application to create an acceleration center to stimulate new startups and manufacturing in Otsego County, with the potential to bring up to 300 new jobs over the next five years.
“I have a simple message,” Sen. Schumer said. “Otsego County has all the right ingredients to be a leader in advanced electronics manufacturing. With a boost from the federal government, we can supercharge rural communities here to create new jobs and new companies.”
He said the Otsego County Acceleration Center “gets my full backing in asking for nearly $2 million in the federal backing it needs to make the greater Oneonta area an emerging hub for tech and innovation.”
Citing manufacturers Custom Electronics and Ioxus, the Majority Leader said Otsego County already stands as an ‘electronics hub’ in upstate New York.
“We have great universities and a great workforce,” he said. “In order for the county to capitalize on these connections, we need programs that connect young startups with resources that show off places like Otsego County and what we have to offer.”
“This is a chance to bring new ideas, new technology, and new money into the county and neighboring counties,” he said.
Otsego County’s industrial development agency applied for the nearly $2 million grant thrugh the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program. RISE offers assistance of up to $2 million to regional rural coalitions of local governments, industry leaders, higher education institutions, and other entities to form job accelerator partnerships, create high-wage jobs, provide job training, expand businesses, and support economic growth in rural regions.
The county’s RISE application would provide business assistance to help anchor new entrepreneurs and tech startups looking to grow in upstate New York. The RISE grant is supported by Otsego County, SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick College, the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship, and the Small Business Development Center at Binghamton University.
“We’ve learned the hard way, and when we don’t do the manufacturing here we’re too dependent on other countries that might not be as friendly as they should be,” Sen. Schumer said.