Making CNY stand out as manufacturing industry shifts toward high-tech, clean-tech

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Central New York has seen a sharp decline in manufacturing jobs recently, but as the industry moves toward a more technologically-based focus, some think we can turn it around.

Just this week, we learned 350 jobs are on the chopping block in Cayuga County, as Auburn's air conditioning manufacturer Daikin McQuay announces its closing up shop to move to Tennessee.

Meanwhile, the Clear Edge Filtration Plant has started making moves to close its plant on Jordan Road in Skaneateles Falls.

According to the Central New York Manufacturing Association, manufacturing jobs once accounted for 40 percent of jobs in our community.

While that percentage has since dwindled to 9 percent, MACNY President Randy Wolken says the number is misleading.

"The truth of the matter is every place in the country has seen a job decline in manufacturing," he says. "We are at the norm now. That's what every state is facing; Even states that were more competitive ten years ago. They're facing the same challenges that we are."

Now, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing a new bill in congress that would spur business in CNY by stirring competition.

As the manufacturing industry shifts from a focus on factories to high-tech and clean-tech companies, the Made in America Manufacturing Act would train employees and students for the jobs of the future.

Regions would compete for federal money to build new facilities and upgrade equipment.

The Central New York Manufacturing Association says the heart of New York is at an advantage to compete as manufacturing moves toward fulfilling a more technologically-based niche.

Wolken says there are already a variety of businesses specializing in medical instruments, and radar detection. There is also Crucible, one of the remaining steel mills.

Lowering taxes across the board will fuel further development.