Economic Development Council begins review of potential projects for grant funding

PEEKSKILL – The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council represents one of the 10 economic development regions that comprise New York State and are tasked with fostering development in their designated regions.

The MHREDC is in the process of deciding which local businesses and projects they will recommend to receive a portion of the $175 million from the state. Clean energy and healthcare sectors are the areas of concentration this year.

The council met in the City of Peekskill where questions came from individuals, businesses, organizations, labor and education representatives from all around the Mid-Hudson region eager to participate in the state’s Workforce Development Initiative.

The WDI will award projects that support strategic regional efforts that meet businesses’ short-term workforce needs, long-term industry needs, and enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, noted council Executive Director Meghan Taylor.

“We would love to see a region where there are thriving downtown and community centers, where there are employment opportunities at all levels of employment hopefully for our young, talented workforce that we are trying to maintain and attract here in the region and also trying to create a business friendly environment where the companies that are located here are enabled to grow and prosper and hopefully add additional employment here within the region,” Taylor said.

Assemblies like Wednesday’s provide the council “with an objective analysis” of a region’s economy and help identify businesses that align with state’s revitalization strategies.  The council helps many different businesses receive funding, but this year they are particularly concentrated on helping business focused on clean energy and health care.

The recommendations provided at the session will help local business apply for state aid and thus strengthen the Hudson Valley’s economy.

The Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) will invest $175 million through a newly created Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), targeted to workforce investments. The awarded CFA projects will. Focus will be on regionally significant industries in emerging fields with growing demands for jobs, including those in clean energy, life sciences, computer science, and advanced technologies. Funds will also support efforts to improve the economic security of women, young workers, and other populations that face significant barriers to career advancement.

Andre Rainey, the mayor of Peekskill was also in attendance; the mayor shared a presentation with the crowd which highlighted the positive impact that a similar program has had on his city. Last month, Peekskill was awarded the fourth regional $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Rainey has already begun planning how to invest the capital. “I’m excited,” said the mayor, who said the funds will be used to revitalize Peekskill’s waterfront.                “The major idea is connecting our downtown to our riverfront,” said Rainey. “We have a beautiful riverfront and a beautiful downtown; we are going to enhance and improve (both).”

The regional council has previously helped develop Peekskill through projects including the renovation of Fleischmann pier and the relocation of Bantam tools, a high end manufacturing company that was persuaded to move from California to the Hudson Valley.

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