Over the past decade, New York’s Upstate, Central, and Western regions have been transformed from retired industry into technical paradises. From the entrepreneurial and medical hubs in the greater Buffalo region to the biomedical advancements and investments taking place in the Rochester/Syracuse area to the nanotechnology revolution in the Mohawk Valley continuing east to the Capital Region, New York State’s economical and educational outlook is bright and prosperous.
Kaloyeros is calling [the new drug discovery research and development center] “the high-tech mall.”
And he dubbed the corridor linking Albany and Buffalo the “21st century high-tech innovation canal,” echoing the role the Erie Canal played in an earlier era.
These unique private-public partnerships have garnered international attention, including from President Barack Obama, Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, and countless national news outlets.
The educational institutions spanning the corridor are vehicles for the success of the innovation and SUNY campuses are leading the way. Throughout this series, we’ll get you up-to-speed on the latest technology investments, partnerships, and developments. Here, we showcase the developments in Tech Valley.
The easternmost portion of New York State, dubbed “Tech Valley”, encompasses 19 counties with the goal of fostering technological innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and lifestyle.
Since its official designation fifteen years ago, Tech Valley has grown into a hub for all things technology. Billions of dollars have been invested in computer chip research, manufacturing, and education—ultimately ending up dispersed in local and regional markets by the workforce that supports and the consumers that, in the end, purchase the research and production results.
SUNY has been at the forefront of this research, acting as the vehicle between world-class education and research and commercialization. Its position in Tech Valley is critical in order for two of its main components to function.
Two components of Tech Valley that this post covers The University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Hudson Valley Community College TEC-SMART, which hosts a local school district’s Early College High School.
Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART will position students for careers at local technology manufacturing firm GlobalFoundries and other state-of-the-art industries in Tech Valley. TEC-SMART (Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies) is a state-of-the-art education facility located north of Albany in Saratoga County.
The facility, which opened in January 2010, spans over 43,000 square feet and features more than a dozen experiential learning stations that will be used to train the workforce in semiconductor manufacturing and green technologies, including photovoltaic, home energy efficiency, geothermal, alternative fuels and wind energy. To enrich all curriculum content, courses in Business and the Liberal Arts and Sciences area, including English, psychology, math and more are taught at the facility.
At TEC-SMART, Hudson Valley Community College trains students that are needed to staff the rapidly-expanding Tech Valley. TEC-SMART’s mission is to establish New York State as a worldwide leader in meeting the 21st-century workforce demands.
An article in Success Magazine in December 2010 outlines TEC-SMART’s effects on the local economy:
Hudson Valley will produce a skilled workforce to serve major employers including GlobalFoundries, General Electric, SunPower Inc., and Alteris Renewables. In addition, business and liberal arts courses are offered at the site.
Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART is also home to the Clean Technologies and Sustainable Industries Early College High School, a partnership with the Ballston Spa Central School District. Early College High School is a SUNY-led effort designed to increase high school graduation and college completion rates for disadvantaged students.
The facility is a prime example of SUNY Access, Completion and Success. Not only are students gaining real-world, experiential education, but they are concurrently networking with prospective employers while they learn throughout the education pipeline.
CNSE is a unique public-private partnership with the goal of elevating research and education to commercialization. It is the location for the global headquarters and operations of SEMATECH, a consortium of competing technology research and fabrication companies such as Intel, IBM, Samsung, Micron, and Texas Instruments.
Students are propelled into nearly every stage of nanotechnology fabrication at the College:
By leveraging its resources in partnership with business and government, CNSE supports accelerated high technology education and commercialization, and seeks to create jobs and economic growth for nanotechnology-related industries.
CNSE currently boasts over 1 million square feet of facility space including over 100,000 feet of clean room space. The newest expansion, called NanoFab X, is the only facility in the world fit to research for the production of 350 mm silicon wafers. CNSE currently hosts over 2,700 employees and nearly 300 students at its Fuller Road campus and is poised to continue expanding as early as next year.
Maxwell is the Coordinator of Digital Engagement for The State University of New York.