MASSENA -- St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Chair Jonathan Putney (D-Waddington) said he believes the bill Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced on Capitol Hill would be a good thing for the county.
“I support Senator Gillibrand’s ‘Made in America’ bill because of the positive impact it can have on not just Alcoa but other private sector manufacturers in St. Lawrence County,” Putney said after speaking with the senator during her appearance at Alcoa in Massena today.
Putney aid about 50 people were on hand to greet the senator and listen to her proposal.
Gillibrand came to Massena to lay out her plan to improve high-technology manufacturing in New York and around the country.
Speaking at Alcoa’s Massena Operations, Gillibrand explained that her first piece of legislation in the 113th Congress is a federal funding competition that encourages states and regional public-private partnerships to design and implement strategies that spur growth for local manufacturing industries, particularly in the thriving fields of clean-tech and high-tech manufacturing, and that train workers with the skills that businesses need.
To bolster more growth in New York manufacturing, Gillibrand’s bill, called the Made in America Manufacturing Act, would create a competitive program that awards states and regions with funding to support local manufacturers through low-interest loans to build new facilities and upgrade equipment, and access to capital and technical assistance to develop exporting opportunities and to connect innovative small suppliers with larger companies.
“It’s time to see ‘Made In America’ again starting right here in New York,” said Gillibrand. “I believe New York’s great manufacturing communities are well positioned to compete for funding that would help carry out their innovative ideas to spark more growth in high-tech manufacturing sectors, jumpstart new businesses, and create good-paying jobs right here where we need them the most.”
Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University and co-chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, applauded the senator’s manufacturing-based initiative, saying, “Senator Gillibrand’s efforts support the Regional Council’s Strategic Plan by meeting needs identified by many employers across the North Country as well as open doors for new areas of investment.”
Funding would also go towards job training and vocational education programs that partner businesses with colleges, local workforce centers and other skill providers to prepare workers for manufacturing jobs.
“It is important to note that this bill ties in well with some of the high tech work and innovation that is happening in our own backyard at Clarkson University,” Chairman Putney said.
“In the North Country we continue to struggle with one of the highest unemployment rates in New York State,” Putney said.
“This bill has great potential and it means so much to the working families across our region. From my perspective we need to continue to secure the jobs we have now and work to bring more jobs to our county,” the board chairman said.
“As a consumer I take into consideration whether or not the products are made in the U.S. or in some foreign country,” Putney said.