New York Senator Charles Schumer is crafting a bill that could bring one of 15 potential national manufacturing hubs to Rochester. Schumer used Eastman Business Park as the backdrop for announcing his plan. This proposal could bring more high-tech job opportunities to the Flower City.
Eastman Business Park is home to cutting edge, high-tech companies looking for advanced research support in the manufacturing technologies of tomorrow.
Senator Schumer believes photonic and optic firms already operating at the Park give it an edge to land one of his proposed national hubs.
"They're going to choose different areas for different types of manufacturing activity. Photonics and optics is one of the new cutting edge areas where it's involved with anything you look at, so to speak, whether you're looking at your smartphone or looking at a computer screen or whatever else, so we have a real advantage there," said Schumer, (D).
A lot of the technologies that could be incorporated in a national manufacturing hub at Eastman Business Park have yet to be developed. That's where partnerships with RIT and the University of Rochester come into play.
"U of R, of course, is the eminent institution in optics and has actually spawned a lot of the optics industries in the region. RIT is actually a big player in sustainable manufacturing, so I think there's a real opportunity actually to join forces and support a very aggressive program," said RIT president Bill Destler.
If Schumer's legislation passes and Eastman Business Park is awarded one of the 15 national hubs, it could result in thousands of jobs for the Rochester area.
What the Park offers is the ability to do manufacturing innovation of products. Technology and infrastructure previously used by Eastman Kodak Company could help persuade photonic and optic companies from other parts of the country to relocate here.
"Just having this as a national center is going to attract companies here. When they see everything we have, I think you get them here, I can sell the park and the community because we just have so many things to offer, so I think you're talking hundreds or thousands of jobs," said Mike Alt, Eastman Business Park.
Besides companies and workers, Schumer says his plan could help funnel money and tax incentives to the Rochester area, which would help boost the local economy.