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CEO FOCUS: New CHIPS & Science law aligns with regional growth strategies

By Robert Simpson

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The [newly passed federal] CHIPS and Science Act will undoubtedly strengthen the United States’ global competitiveness in the semiconductor industry. The legislation also contains significant provisions that will accelerate regional economic growth and development, including $200 billion to support university R&D and technology development, supply chains, and STEM education. 

These CHIPS and Science Act investments and strategies align with CenterState CEO’s existing efforts to prepare the region’s talent, particularly from traditionally underserved communities, for the tech opportunities of the future. CenterState CEO has worked closely with the Brookings Institution on regional strategies to drive growth, and our advocacy work has focused on the need for place-based investments in innovation.

Among the initiatives we are leading and supporting are the following.

• CenterState CEO’s implementation of the JPMC AdvancingCities initiative is advancing long-term strategies in support of Syracuse Surge. Efforts include several workforce training and advancement programs to surface talent from vulnerable populations and connect them to in-demand jobs in high-tech industries including high-tech manufacturing. CenterState CEO is also focused on attracting, expanding, and incubating tech businesses led by diverse founders.

• The region’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge application, led by CenterState CEO, includes a proposed multimillion-dollar investment to renovate a historic school building located in a historically disinvested Syracuse neighborhood within the Syracuse City School District (enrollment 20,000) into a regional STEAM high school. 

• The planned expansion of CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden, which will offer both leading-edge incubation space and enhanced programing to meet the needs of emerging entrepreneurs, including the new XBE-focused accelerator program. 

According to Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director at Brookings Metro, “The CHIPS and Science Act [is] a milestone for policies to ensure that underrepresented people and places can participate more in the nation’s innovation economy. It affirms social and spatial inclusion as central to American strength.” 

As an organization, we have worked with public and private partners to advance these and other initiatives focused on inclusive growth. The CHIPS and Science Act’s investments in social and place-based strategies are even more important as this community becomes a globally relevant “smart city,” and works to ensure greater equity for historically underserved communities and their participation in the innovation economy and the region’s resurgence.

I am energized and excited to continue our work to leverage these investments and resources to drive progress for all in Central New York.       


Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Aug. 18.