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Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Discusses Strategic Plan Implementation and Priority Project Tracking

(April 19, 2012)

Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council Discusses Strategic Plan Implementation and Priority Project Tracking

The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council (MVREDC) today held its second meeting of 2012 at Herkimer County Community College to discuss the Council’s next steps and the implementation of its Strategic Plan. The Council was awarded $60.2 million in state support for 59 projects across the region through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative and first round of the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process.

During the meeting, the Council endorsed the development of a Regional Sustainability Plan in coordination with Governor Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities initiative, and also focused on generating ideas and tasks for the six committees established by the Council to help bring the Strategic Plan created last fall to life. The Council also briefed its members and the public on the status of the region’s priority projects, discussed what to look for in the second round of the CFA process and outlined its strategy for tracking all regional projects that received funding through the CFA in 2011. In addition, the top priority for all Regional Councils this year is to make significant progress on each Council’s implementation agenda, as well as measuring the effectiveness of its plan and making adjustments as needed to ensure projects are moving forward and remain in line with the Council’s five strategies.

“This year is all about putting the strategic plan into action and ensuring the Council’s vision for the region is resulting in economic growth and job creation,” said SUNYIT President and Council Co-Chair Bjong Wolf Yeigh. “Continued public engagement is critical to building momentum as we work to implement our regional plan and remain committed to developing innovative partnerships that will benefit our communities for years to come.”

“The Council was established to tap into the unique resources we have in our region and to put the development of the Mohawk Valley into the hands of those who know it best – the people,” said President of Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, Inc. and Council Co-Chair Larry Gilroy. “Today we took a step forward to successfully implementing the strategic plan to revitalize the local economy and foster job-creation in our communities.”

A brief overview of the 2012 Council work plan and second round of the CFA process was also provided to the Council to maintain the momentum gained last year. In 2012, each region will begin to see both immediate action and the long-term potential of this process as Regional Councils focus on three core areas: Implementation—developing an agenda to operationalize the strategic plans to ensure tangible progress and a clear path to success; Adjustments—incorporating new information to update and amend the plans, report on progress and develop measurements to track success, and capitalize on new opportunities and emerging projects; Results—turning strategy into action to take the plans from conception to construction.

The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council is one of 10 regional councils across New York that serve as a single point of contact for economic activity in the region, which is composed of Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties. Its Strategic Plan is guided by the region’s vision statement and its five strategies: enhance regional concentrations; workforce alignment and education; innovation enabling infrastructure; increase spatial efficiency; and strengthen government and civic effectiveness. It provides a roadmap for promoting and sustaining a diverse, integrated and dynamic regional economy. It puts forth ways to capitalize on the region's strengths and opportunities in its major industry sectors including agriculture and food processing; financial services, insurance and real estate; travel and tourism; healthcare and medical services; cybersecurity/information technology; semiconductors and nanotechnology; clean technology; manufacturing; and distribution.

The plan development process involved Regional Council members and community stakeholders from across the region. Input was gathered through more than half a dozen public forums and workshops, as well as comments submitted on the Council’s website, Through their strategic planning process, the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council also identified priority projects that demonstrate the greatest potential for job growth. These projects represent critical opportunities, across all six counties, to build upon the region’s strengths and competitive advantages, and immediately accelerate job creation and growth.

Created by Governor Cuomo in July 2011, the Regional Economic Development Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development from a top-down development model to a community-based, performance driven approach which empowers individual areas to develop comprehensive strategic plans that invest in regional solutions to create jobs and economic growth. Each regional council developed and submitted to the state a plan for the development of their region, which provides a regional vision for economic development, addresses critical issues and opportunities, and lays out an implementation roadmap for future growth. The state works with the regional councils to align state resources and policies, eliminate unnecessary barriers to growth and prosperity, and streamline the delivery of government services and programs to help the regional councils carry out their plans for development.

As part of the regional council process, a Strategic Plan Review Committee was chosen to analyze and rank the strategic plans for each region competing for $200 million in specially targeted economic development funding. In addition to the strategic planning grants made available through the regional council initiative, a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) was created to give businesses and other entities streamlined and expedited access to economic development funding from nine state agencies and 29 existing programs. Awards made for CFA projects in December 2011 were based on the endorsement of the local regional council and the technical scoring of various state funding agencies. Additionally, eligible applicants will receive funding from NYSERDA's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Governor Cuomo has committed to launch a $200 million second round of competitive CFA awards this year.