October 09, 2012

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $1.9 Million for University of Rochester to Spur Growth in Advanced Manufacturing, High-Tech Jobs

Federal Investment Supports Development of Regional Optics, Photonics and Imaging Companies

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the University of Rochester is set to receive a total of $1,889,936 in federal investment from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and four other participating agencies to help develop the Rochester Regional Optics, Photonics and Imaging Accelerator program. The program will leverage regional strengths in education, workforce training, technology development and incubation to accelerate growth of optics, photonics, and imaging companies. This project teams the University of Rochester with the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, and Rochester Institute of Technology to use enhanced networking, targeted international customer matchmaking, and market research tied to key regional assets, to produce collaborative research projects.

The investment includes $500,000 from the Economic Development Administration. This is on top of investments made by four other participating federal agencies. Specifically, this EDA funding is in addition to $375,000 from the National Institute of Standards (NIST), $447,936 from the Department of Energy (DOE), $400,000 from U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and $167,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA), totaling $1,889,936 in federal investment for the University’s program. All investments awarded under this Challenge are designed to support advanced manufacturing activities; help grow industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities; enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs; develop a skilled advanced manufacturing workforce; encourage the development of small businesses; and accelerate technological innovation. 

“Rochester has long been a world leader when it comes to pushing the boundaries of optics and imaging and this massive federal investment will build on Rochester’s preeminence in these industries. This is great news for the University of Rochester, RIT, and the dozens of local high tech companies that will use this funding as a catalyst for job creation and to leverage further private investment in the Rochester Regional Optics, Photonics and Imaging Accelerator program,” said Senator Schumer. “I am thrilled that the Economic Development Administration and the other participating federal agencies have invested nearly $1.9 million in this University program, which aims to harness the Rochester region’s strengths in education, technology development and high-tech manufacturing to create jobs.”


“Rochester is home to some of the world’s brightest minds and best ideas to grow our economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When we pair the innovation happening right now at the University of Rochester and RIT with the unique strengths of the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, we can develop scientific breakthroughs into cutting edge businesses and new jobs, and produce the next generation of innovative leaders right here. This is the future of our economy, and we need to make sure it starts right here in Rochester.”

This project is funded through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a national competition administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and Small Business Administration (SBA). The program is designed to foster job creation, increase public and private investments, and enhance economic prosperity by harnessing the economic growth and job creation potential resulting from advanced manufacturing activities within high-growth industry clusters that have been identified by regional stakeholders. This initiative is designed to leverage existing financial and technical resources from five distinct Federal agencies through awards to approximately 12 projects that will be selected through competitive multi-agency grants. The participating funding agencies are providing approximately $26 million in Federal support for the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs Accelerator that will be used to fund approximately 12 new awards, each with a project period of up to three years. The funding level of each participating Federal Agency will vary, subject to the availability of their respective appropriations.

Senators Gillibrand’s letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine urging his support for Rochester is attached.