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Regional Economic Development and Veterans

December 9, 2011

Regional Economic Development and Veterans

Written by James Schmeling, IVMF Managing Director & Co-founder

Today the New York state Regional Economic Development Councils announced $785 million in funding through the regional councils. The development process moved the proposals to a “community-based, performance driven approach” which take the needs and input of the regions into account by involving the people in the regions directly.

Central New York landed $103.7 million for economic development. A review of the awarded funds to the region shows one project funded that targets veterans. This project, one of ten across New York, will complete housing repairs, home modifications, and construction of accessibility features, and more for veterans with disabilities, elderly, and frail homeowners and for landlords who modify rental property occupied by people with disabilities including veterans. Goals for these projects include contracting with Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE), with a goal of 20% of the work being done by MWBE participants. There are many veterans who participate in these programs, and we hope they will be part of the projects to serve their fellow veterans, and to do other work in the state.

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families applauds those projects which proposed service to veterans! The funds used for the construction will assist individuals, those agencies which serve them, and those businesses which will perform the work. Understanding the needs of veterans with disabilities for home modifications is an excellent first step to reintegrating into a civilian world post-service. We look forward to future years when we can work with the regional councils to evaluate other opportunities for economic development which leverage service to veterans, and also advance veterans beyond homes.

Economic development activities can and should target veterans with and without disabilities to benefit from, and to perform work in, New York’s funded projects. And our educational institutions can and do prepare veterans for today’s and tomorrow’s careers. We should use this economic development opportunity to leverage the skilled workforce of veterans, including wounded warriors, for economic development. Veterans can contribute to Central New York’s “unique economic assets including clean energy and environmental systems, health and financial services, agribusiness and food processing, advanced manufacturing, and tourism.” And no one is better suited than the Institute for Veterans and Military Families together with the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County to “promote entrepreneurship, small business development and workforce training.” We look forward to working in and around Central New York, as we’ve done nationally, to advance opportunities for veterans.

For further information on the announcement: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/12082011RegionalCouncils
For links to the awards and the regional councils: http://nyworks.ny.gov/generic/2011-RCawards-ceremony#overlay-context=content/capital-region

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