December 7, 2023
Albany, NY

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Makes Transformative Investments in Central New York to Prepare Students for Jobs in Growing Technology Manufacturing Industry

Video, Audio, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Hochul Makes Transformative Investments in Central New York to Prepare Students for Jobs in Growing Technology Manufacturing Industry

Governor Hochul: “This will transform a generation of young people because the education's there, the skills are being taught, and the jobs are waiting for them. This is what the future looks like, my friends. This is the future. So, the State's investment of $71 million of a $74 million project, that's a lot. But I know that we'll get every dime out of this back when we change futures for young people.”

Hochul: “[H]ere in Central New York, we're building the foundation of a brand-new economy. A new life for people, new opportunities – and making New York embrace it, Central New York being at the forefront of this and building prosperity for generations to come.”

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul broke ground on the Syracuse Science, Technology, Arts and Math High School – Central New York’s first regional technical high school, which will open in 2025 thanks to a $71 million state commitment. Governor Hochul was joined by Micron Technology, Inc., the United Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, New York State United Teachers and local officials. The Governor also announced that New York State and Micron will invest $4 million in the New York Advanced Technology Framework to help school districts in New York build their own curriculum in semi-conductors and high-tech manufacturing. Today’s announcements highlight the continued collaboration between New York State, businesses, and labor leaders to ensure Central New York is prepared to welcome the region’s growing technology manufacturing industry.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good morning, everyone. Please sit down. What a spectacular day. I have a couple of observations to make. In case you have not noticed, Central New York is literally reinventing itself, and business leaders across the globe are paying attention. And if you want to lead an industry into the 21st century, they're starting to wake up and say, “Yeah, Central New York is the place to be.”

This region is blessed with an abundance of people who have such ambition, who have such big dreams for this area. Just like the legacy they built for this great region, but there was a time when we sort of lost our mojo here, and people started feeling down and out. The better days were always going to be in the past. But this area never gave up and fought hard for recognition, fought hard for opportunities. And it is that a great ambition that brings us here today, as we break ground on a $74 million state-of-the-art, globally recognized STEAM school. Let's give that another round of applause.

And the announcement about how we're changing the curriculum to adapt to the needs, and it didn't happen by itself. I want to thank, first of all, Tony Davis, our Superintendent. It takes guts and vision to be a leader and to be first of one of a kind. So, thank you. Thank you. My partners in state government. We all knew what was happening in Washington. They're passing their own CHIPS Act. Well, that meant that companies would come to New York and come to the United States and develop in the United States. It didn't say New York would get an advantage, it just said the United States was now positioning itself to bring back, onshoring the jobs that we had lost for too long.

But I needed partners at the state level, and I want to thank our Senator John Mannion for his incredible leadership on this. John, thank you. Thank you. Senator Rachel May. Thank you, Senator May. And Assemblyman Al Stirpe, who was the sponsor of the Green Chips Bill in the Assembly, let's give him a huge round of applause. Assemblymember Pam Hunter as well.

The Mayor, I know this is a great day for you. We've walked past the empty steam building, and you always say, “We got to get this done. We got to get this done because it can come back and be such a magnificent credit to this community and give kids such an opportunity.” So, Mayor Walsh, your vision, the way I've seen it implemented, and I'm paying a close attention to this community. You know that. I commend you for your incredible leadership. Let's give another round of applause to Mayor Ben Walsh.

Our County Executive, Ryan McMahon, who knew he needed to find the place. If you get the land ready, they will come. And they certainly did. So, thank you for positioning ourselves to be so competitive in making sure Micron understood there's no place like Syracuse for building this magnificent place.

April Arnzen and Manish Bhatia, I want to thank both of you. We've become good friends with Micron. I'm reminded as I'm a little bit late today, flying planes in the snow is always a little longer than you think. I literally started this morning in New York City, in Manhattan. And I was with a crowd of business leaders, and when I mentioned I had to leave because I had to go to Syracuse because of another Micron announcement, they literally applauded in Manhattan. They know this is a big deal. I want you to know that. This is a big deal, and they're paying attention. So, to Manish and April, thank you.

And as I thought about flying in the snow, I thought about January 25, 2022. And I was supposed to come over from Albany, and the snow was coming down so hard, and my team says, “I'm not sure you should fly.” I said, “Micron's waiting for me in Syracuse. Sanjay's waiting for me to have a little conversation. We're going to take the plane; I'm going to get there.” And we ended up staying not for one drink and saying hello. We stayed three hours for the most incredible dinner. And I want to thank you. I will always get on that plane and go where I can help make a deal.

But I also knew walking out of that room, and we talked about the opportunity. And they said numbers I just never heard of in my lifetime – $100 billion investment, 50,000 jobs. They would need 50,000 well-trained workers. And I said, “Okay, I can do that, no problem. Okay, Mike, Randi, Andy, we have to get some people trained here, right?” We knew immediately, in order to make this happen, that we'd have to train the next generation of workers because when this is completed in 20 years, children born today are going to be walking in the doors and getting those great paying jobs and starting their own families. But educators were at the forefront. And I needed them. I needed Melinda Person, I needed Mike Mulgrew, I needed Randi Weingarten. I needed them to also share in this vision. And as Randi said, as a national leader, sitting here today. When she says this will be a national model, she means it because she can make that happen.

So, we're going to get it right here. We're going to make you proud. And show what we can do when people come together. The business community, government, labor, and all the teachers here today. I commend every single one of you. Let's give yourselves a round of applause as well. Thank you, thank you. And Amazon, thank you for stepping up.

Brad Griggs, also the Senior Manager of Economic Development at Amazon. Thank you for believing in us. For 70 years, Central Tech High School prepared kids for the future. That's what they did. People graduated there, started their families, were part of the local economy, part of the fabric of Central New York. But in 1975, it shuttered its doors. No more. Now, Fowler High School was great, a great replacement. But it has been 50 years, people have gone by this building, almost in a mocking way, a reminder, just saying, “Nothing here, nothing to see here, nothing going on here, nobody being educated here,” it was abandoned, hopeless.

And people said, “No, that can't be. This area is too important. It has too much value. It has too much character and charm. We can bring it back.” It just needed people to believe in its possibilities. Just like what else is going around here. Last time I was here was a major announcement on the progress we're making on I-81. That is one of the largest infrastructure projects in our state going on right now. And we're going to get it done. Dividing a community that was divided by racial injustice. And I called it out for what it was. No one cared back then when they built these highways. Whether it's the one in Buffalo, the 33 or 81 here.

No one cared that you're dividing through the heart of the Black and Brown communities because they didn't have political clout to stop it. And we said we're going to start healing our communities, bringing them back together, reuniting them. And that's why I brag about that project as well, going on simultaneously with this.

What I see with the Center City Innovation Hub, we've talked about this, it's becoming a reality. It's so exciting. The Tech Guard, I've walked through the halls there are so many times and I see the smartest people, so energetic, so excited about the future. And you want a great meal, just go over to Salt City Market, right? That is ingenious. And I encourage our out-of-town guests, like Randi and Mike Mulgrew, I know Melinda's been here, stop by there. It's like the United Nations. It's people from all around the world, and it's their first chance to really start a business.

When I go through that, I'm just so proud of this area. Because I know what it looked like. I went to school here. I came in on a bus from a gritty Greyhound station in Buffalo that I'm not sure my parents should have dropped me off at by myself. And I landed at one that was just as scary here in Syracuse, remember that one? But I came here, taking that bus across the State because I believed in it, that I could have a future with an education in this area.

But I saw the polluted lake I drove by, I'd say, “Why aren't people swimming in that lake?” “Oh, you don't want to swim in that lake.” We're cleaning up the lake, the lake is coming back, the downtown is coming back, the development. I never thought I'd live long enough to see the rebirth of this city and this region. And the icing on all of it is Micron. Micron, giving that sense of pride.

So, this building next door here, this is going to be a symbol. It's not just a place, it's a symbol. A symbol of rebirth, reimagining, and again, a faith that was not there before. When they open the doors in 2025, and the first students walk through into this beautiful place, it's going to have the state-of-the-art technology, it's going to say, the future is right here, just grab it, young people, grab it, it's waiting for you.

And their lives will be forever transformed, when they get the skills that are required to go work at Micron and all the other businesses that are finding their way here. They'll never have to – especially the kids coming out of poverty today, and we've got one of the highest childhood poverty rates in America. How do you solve for that? This is what keeps me up at night. How do we help those little kids? And we're doing so much: tax credit for families where there never was, helping with childcare costs, helping to increase the minimum wage, adjusting to inflation – we did all that. But I know if those children can find their ways to this STEAM school, they'll never, ever have to talk about how we can afford food for their families or be able to pay the rent for their families.

This will transform a generation of young people because the education's there, the skills are being taught, and the jobs are waiting for them. This is what the future looks like, my friends. This is the future. So, the State's investment of $71 million of a $74 million project, that's a lot. But I know that we'll get every dime out of this back when we change futures for young people. But I also want to make sure that they're being educated in a smart, smart way. And while we've made innovations in tech – and spoiler alert – we're talking about embracing AI in New York State here because there's jobs that are going to go somewhere, and I say they come to New York. We're going to be talking about that in my State of the State address. And why not have the epicenter be here in Upstate New York? This is what I believe can happen.

So, we're going to keep partnering with companies and partnering with labor and making sure this all happens. But as we continue to think about this, this announcement here today, that you heard about, what our unions have worked on, changing the curriculum, you know my friends, when you talk about changing curriculum, you're usually looking at a decade of work. I mean, this bureaucracy does not happen. Am I right about this? “Okay, let's change A to B here, okay, we'll get back to you in about ten years,” it doesn't happen, right? It doesn't happen. But we are going at rapid speed because the future is right there, and we have no time to wait. That's the urgency we bring to this. That's why having Randi Weingarten and Melinda and Mike on board. and all the people they represent. This is how you seize the future.

So, this commitment and $10 million from Micron to help us go toward educating – $10 million. That's a lot of money. Let's give them another round of applause. $10 million for educating generations of New Yorkers. Amazon stepping up, $1.75 million. Let's give a round of applause to Amazon. Thank you, Amazon. Thank you. This is what it's all about. And when we get, as I said, government and labor and business in a community. Elected officials working together. This new commitment of $2 million from the state matched by Micron.

I feel like I'm really almost have chills and I don't say this often. Things are finally happening. Happening to an area that just never had much going for it for a long time. And we're going to look back on this day and this time and this year and a half of the Micron announcements that keep rolling out and rolling out. And the community commitments and the partnerships you've built and say this is what every business should be doing. You have set the model. You've set the bar high. I talk about you all the time.

In fact, I have another call with Washington, too, and I say, as we talk about companies getting these government benefits, whether it's from the Federal CHIPS Act, the State CHIPS Act, you have a responsibility to the communities where you're investing in. Now, this was not a lesson that had to be taught to Micron. This was their culture, this was their identity, this is who they are. Every company that wants help from us; we need to ask them to do the same.

What are you doing about child care? Tell us what you're doing about childcare. I know we're already starting to build a childcare center on site. So, no parent has to say, I can't take that job because the cost of child care is too high. This is what the future of business should be here in the State of New York. Embracing the local community like it's your family. That's what I feel Micron has done. That's powerful. And it'll happen in a place called Clay. I think about the word, “clay,” back when people were, long time ago, and fire was still a mystery. Clay was a foundational material. They used to build things. You see the pots that are built today. Communities were built. It's something you built things out of. And from this little community of clay, here in Central New York, we're building the foundation of a brand-new economy.

A new life for people, new opportunities – and making New York embrace it, Central New York being at the forefront of this and building prosperity for generations to come. That's why this is such a big deal. Thank you, my friends, and let's go cut some ribbons.

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