New York Builds on History, Invests in Future
New York has long been an appealing center of business because of its rich history of industrial development and technological innovation, its major port and transit systems, and its proximity to other manufacturing hubs, such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition to these advantages, the state also offers tax-incentive and job-creation programs. Such programs are not new; however, recent job cuts across the country and in New York are making them more valuable and necessary than ever. Despite these losses, New York remains one of the largest metropolitan employers for the biosciences in the United States.
New York has a large employment base--5% or more of national employment--in medical devices and equipment as well as in research, testing, and medical laboratories. These are two of the largest bioscience subsectors, according to a 2008 State Bioscience Initiatives report from technology development organization Battelle (Columbus, OH). And, although manufacturing is among the hardest-hit sectors in the current economy, the medical device and equipment manufacturing subsector has continued to show growth even during sluggish recession years, according to Battelle. The organization's report notes that although employment among medical device firms remained relatively flat for the years immediately following 2001, the industry has increased employment by 2.8% in the past two years. In particular, companies specializing in such electromedical devices as MRI and endoscopic equipment have shown significant growth, increasing employment by as much as 10%, the report says.
Battelle's report also suggests that state grant programs and university research initiatives are setting the industry up for an even brighter future. For example, New York recently reformed its Empire Zone program to increase benefits for companies that meet the program's standards and remove companies from the program if they do not. The program provides tax incentives and benefits to businesses for a 10-year period in return for creating jobs and investing in New York. Savings gained from the reforms to this program will be reinvested through other job-creation initiatives that the state is launching. Those initiatives include the New York Growth, Achievement, and Investment Strategy (GAINS) Fund, which will target job creation in biotech, high-technology, and other manufacturing-related industries, and through a new research and development tax credit that will allow businesses that invest in innovation in New York--at their own facilities or in partnership with colleges or universities in the state--to recoup a portion of their costs.
A partnership involving Western New York's University of Buffalo (UB) recently demonstrated how business-university relationships can be mutually beneficial. UB established a department of biomedical engineering in September 2008 to focus on development of medical devices and therapies addressing such health problems as cardiovascular disease and cancer. The region is home to several biomedical companies, including Applied Sciences Group (Buffalo, NY), Virtual Scopics (Rochester, NY), and Moog (East Aurora, NY), that can take advantage of the pool of graduates at the bioengineering school as well as from spin-off technologies and businesses from the school's research. One of only a few biomedical engineering programs in the country, the department will also help to further the goals of UB's Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology, which is funded by the state's Foundation for Science, Technology, and Academic Research.
Companies in New York also turn to regional business networks and resources to help them thrive. The Department of Labor divides the state into ten regions, offering employment data reports on each in its monthly newsletter. Each region is home to campuses of the State University of New York and other research and medical colleges, as well as to business and economic development organizations focused on advancing technology and industry. One such example is Hauppauge Industrial Association (HIA; Hauppauge, NY), the largest industrial park in Long Island and one of the largest in the country. Established about 30 years ago, HIA has approximately 1000 member companies, including medical device manufacturers and a variety of contract manufacturers, assembly service providers, machinery suppliers, and quality management companies, that unite to promote the well-being of the Long Island business community.