Press Release

In Response To Ongoing Job Loss, Gillibrand Launches Innovation Agenda To Spur Growth In High-Tech Industries, Create Good-Paying Jobs

Oct 21, 2009

Washington, DC – In
response to ongoing job loss month after month, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
today is launching a new Innovation Agenda – a comprehensive plan that includes
targeted investments in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
education, legislation to promote business incubators and regional economic
development strategies, and an event next week in the nation’s capital to
showcase high tech companies and research institutions from every region of New
York State. County by county analysis from the New York State Department of
Labor suggests that strategic investments in research and development and STEM
education will spur economic growth in the high-tech sector.

“No other state is poised to lead in the
high-tech economy of the future like New York,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Our
state is home to the universities, businesses, laboratories, researchers and
the bright minds we need for long-term economic strength. My Innovation Agenda
harnesses all of our state’s potential to spark new industries, attract
businesses and create new jobs. We’ll arm our classrooms with the math and
science teachers we need to prepare all of our students for the jobs of the
future, and we’ll make sure every hardworking student has the opportunity to
achieve their full potential, and become the innovative leaders that New York
needs to compete and win in the global economy.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that eight out of the nine
fastest-growing occupations require science and technology skills. But less
than one-third of American students are proficient in math and science, according
to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. China and India are
graduating five times more engineers than the U.S. – making these countries
more competitive in the high-tech economy.

Before President Obama took office, the U.S. had been experiencing its first
multi-year decline in federal investments in research and development in over
25 years. And our trade balance has shifted from a surplus in high-tech goods
during the 1990s to a deficit of over $135 billion today.

Despite these stark national trends, New York remains a worldwide hub of
technology and innovation. In fact, from 2004 to 2008, New York grew its
high-tech industry by nearly 2,000 businesses and nearly $5 billion in
increased wages.

READ Senator Gillibrand’s new report on New York’s high-tech industry.

  • From 2004 to 2008 in New York City, there
    were over 1,000 more high-tech businesses and nearly $3 billion in increased
  • From 2004 to 2008 in Western New York,
    there were nearly 100 more high-tech businesses and nearly $290 million in
    increased wages.
  • From 2004 to 2008 in the Rochester/Finger
    Lakes Region, there were over 60 more high-tech businesses and over $300
    million in increased wages.
  • From 2004 to 2008 in Central New York,
    there were 55 more high-tech businesses and over $185 million in increased
  • From 2004 to 2008 in the Southern Tier,
    there were nearly 15 more high-tech businesses and nearly $295 million in
    increased wages.
  • From 2004 to 2008 in the Capital Region,
    there were 160 more high-tech businesses and nearly $280 million in increased
  • From 2004 to 2008 in the North Country,
    there were over 40 more high-tech businesses, but a decline of over $6.5
    million in wages.
  • From 2004 to 2008 in the Hudson Valley,
    there were over 260 more high-tech businesses and nearly $130 million in
    increased wages.
  • From 2004 to 2008 on Long Island, there
    were nearly 270 more high-tech businesses and over $550 million in increased

To harness all of New York’s
potential to lead America into the high-tech economy of the future and restore
America’s competitiveness, Senator Gillibrand is launching her Innovation

1. Showcase New York’s Best in High-Tech in Washington,

On Wednesday, October 28, Senator
Gillibrand will host a high-tech/innovation showcase at the nation’s capitol,
featuring high-tech companies and research institutions from every corner of
New York.

event is being held in partnership with TechNet – a bipartisan network of
high-tech CEOs and Senior Executives that represent more than one million
employees in the fields of information technology, clean technology,
biotechnology, e-commerce and finance.

showcase will highlight the exciting ways in which New York high-tech companies
and research institutions are driving economic growth and advancing
technologies to address some of the most important national issues such as
health care, energy and education.  Attendees will have the opportunity to
see first-hand high-tech demos and research displays showcasing cutting-edge
innovations and the many ways in which New York is leading the way in these
emerging industries. This event will bring together many of the nation’s
premier innovators and high-tech leaders from the private sector, academia and
the government to discuss the critical importance of innovation to job
creation, quality of life and our continued global competitiveness.

Capital Region
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering; EYP; Ener-G-Rotors; Global
Foundries; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Long Island
National Laboratory; Long Island Forum for Technology; Long Island Software and
Technology Network; and State University of New York at Stony Brook

University and SolarNovar

New York
at Buffalo

Rochester/Finger Lakes
ITT Space Systems Division; University
of Rochester; Rochester Institute of Technology; Rochester Photonics Cluster;
Harris Corporation; and Cornell University

York City
Institute of New York University; SUNY Downstate’s Biotechnology Initiative;
EnerNOC; and SMART

Central New York
Corporation; Lockheed Martin; SRC; The Tech Garden; Welch Allyn; Syracuse
Center of Excellence; MedTech; and Clearwire

Valley Community College; IBM; and Precision Flow Technologies

featured at the showcase will be Dell, Demand Response and Smart Grid
Coalition, Intel Corporation and Tendril.

2. Support Entrepreneurs and Business Incubators

of the biggest obstacles for getting new high tech businesses off the ground is
access to capital, especially in the current economic climate.  Supporting
entrepreneurs and business incubators is one of the best investments to rebuild
areas of New York that were hit hardest by these tough economic times and grow
our high-tech sector. According to the Economic Development Administration
(EDA), every $10,000 invested in business incubators has the potential to
create up to nearly 70 new local jobs. And every dollar devoted to an incubator
generates approximately $30 in local tax revenue, according to the National
Business Incubation Association (NBIA).

The NBIA also estimates that in 2005 alone, business incubators supported more
than 27,000 start-up companies that provided jobs for more than 100,000 workers
– generating more than $17 billion in annual revenue.

foster growth among our high-tech entrepreneurs and business incubators,
Senator Gillibrand introduced the Business Incubator Promotion Act, which would provide additional flexibility and funding to support incubators,
particularly in areas where there is high unemployment.

3. Grow Regional Economies and Attract New Businesses

grow the economy, businesses must work together and draw on regional strengths
that can attract more investment to the area. To foster regional economic
growth, Senator Gillibrand is pushing the Strengthening Employment Clusters
to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act
– legislation that would award
competitive industry or sector partnership grants from $250,000 to $2.5 million
to eligible entities to develop cluster-based economic development
strategies.  This funding is critical to connecting regional businesses,
suppliers, research and development entities, education and training providers,
and associated institutions in a particular field to fulfill regional workforce
needs and grow regional economies.

Eastern New York’s Tech Valley to Western New York’s biotech corridor, to New
York City’s Bioscience Initiative, the SECTORS Act would provide
critical federal investments to some of New York’s most promising regional
cluster development projects and lay the foundation for our state’s long term
economic strength in the high-tech sector.

4. Expand and Build New Science Parks, Incentivize
Research and Development

Science parks hold the potential to make
major breakthroughs in academic research that translate to promising new
business ventures and new jobs. New York is home to some of the nation’s best
science parks, including at Clarkson University, the University at Buffalo,
Binghamton University, the College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering at
the University at Albany, New York University and Stony Brook University.

New York City’s Bioscience Initiative brings together over a dozen world-class
research institutions and business leaders to grow New York’s bioscience
industry. Its state-of-the-art facilities and leading research has helped
secure over $1 billion in federal investments from the National Institutes for
Health (NIH) and create over 110,000 related jobs for New York City.

To give all of New York’s science parks the resources they need, Senator
Gillibrand is cosponsoring the Building a Stronger America Act –
legislation that would increase federal grants to $750,000 and guarantees of up
to 80 percent on loans exceeding $10 million to build new science parks and
expand existing ones.

Senator Gillibrand is calling for a permanent extension to the Research and
Development tax credit to spur private investment in research and innovation to
grow our high-tech sector for the long term.

5. Produce More STEM Teachers and Graduate More STEM

America faces a stark
shortage of math and science teachers. In fact, the U.S. will need an
additional 283,000 math and science teachers in secondary schools by

The lack of STEM teachers is taking a serious toll on the amount
of STEM students we produce. And the lack of STEM teachers in low-income
schools widens the racial and gender gaps among our high-tech workforce:

  • Women
    represent 43 percent of our workforce, but make up only 23 percent of
    scientists and engineers;
  • African
    Americans and Hispanics together represent about 30 percent of our workforce,
    but make up only 7 percent of scientists and engineers;
  • Together,
    African Americans and Hispanics receive less than 5 percent of all doctorates
    in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science.

To help equip all of our
classrooms with the teachers we need to train more students to be the high-tech
innovators of the future, Senator Gillibrand is introducing the Senate version
of the National STEM Education Tax Incentive for Teachers Act. The
legislation would provide STEM teachers who work in low-income, high-need
schools a tax credit to cover 10 percent of their undergraduate tuition – up to
$1,000 each year. STEM teachers in schools serving children with disabilities
would be able to deduct up to $1,500 each year.

The legislation is a critical tool to
attract STEM teachers to low-income schools and help increase the number of
low-income students succeeding in STEM classes and pursuing careers in math,
science and engineering, which America now lags behind China and India by 5 to

fastest growing occupations from 2000 to 2010 require expertise in the fields
of science and technology, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But less than one-third of American students are proficient
in math and science, according to the National Assessment of Educational
Progress. And our existing high-tech workforce is getting older – with more
than half of Americans with science and engineering degrees being 40 and older.

To graduate the amount of
students we need in math and science to compete in the high-tech economy,
Senator Gillibrand is introducing the Undergraduate Scholarships for
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Act
– the US STEM Act.
The legislation would establish a new program under the National Science
Foundation to award 2,500 undergraduate scholarships each year for students’
full tuition during their last two years at a state institution.

The program would emphasize attracting more low-income, high-achieving students
to pursue degrees in math, science and engineering – making sure every
hardworking student has a path to higher education and success in careers that
will define the economy of the future.