September 29, 2013

Colleges, universities keys to economic development

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country is a prime example of how colleges and universities can help drive the local economy.

That was one of the themes during the forum “How Two Colleges Have Helped Plattsburgh Become Montreal’s U.S. Suburb,” which recently brought economy experts and interested community members to Clinton Community College. 

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Dr. Jason Lane, deputy director for research at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, said that in today’s world, the intense competition for economic development and jobs has made colleges and universities more important than ever.

“Higher education is one of the most valuable commodities in the world,” he said.

Plattsburgh is fortunate to have two tremendous higher-education institutions in Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh, he said. Those schools create a college-educated workforce that can help attract companies to a region. They also support the further development and growth of businesses through internships and specialized training programs.


In the North Country, which he defined as being from the Saratoga area north to Plattsburgh and west to Potsdam/Canton, SUNY schools have created 6,700 jobs and have an enrollment of 22,300, as well as 61,000 alumni who remain in the region.

Those schools pay $12 million in tax payments and are responsible for $357 million in economic development each year, Lane said.


In opening remarks, Empire State Development President and CEO Ken Adams said one of the advantages New York has is the quality of its workforce.

“That’s driven by the quality of our education system. They’re one and the same,” he said.

The new Start-Up New York program seeks to enhance that relationship, he said. It will provide new businesses that locate on or near SUNY campuses and are affiliated with campus programming a 10-year exemption on state taxes, as well as a 10-year income-tax exemption for their employees.

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