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Gillibrand Announces Bill to Permanently Designate Rochester as a "Manufacturing Community"

Senator Gillibrand speaks at City Hall about the importance of this designation.
Veronica Volk
Senator Gillibrand speaks at City Hall about the importance of this designation.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act would permanently establish the Finger Lakes region as a manufacturing community, giving the area preferential treatment when applying for certain federal economic development grants.

The Finger Lakes, led by Rochester, was labeled a manufacturing community back in 2014 under President Obama's Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. The designation gives communities an advantage when applying for grant money to spur economic development in the manufacturing industry.

This grant money funds manufacturing facility upgrades, brownfield renovation, and workforce development for people like Cyrus Crane. Crane, 36 is going through skills training to get a job in manufacturing.

"I'm learning how to use different tooling to measure different parts, they teach us fractions, decimals, stuff like that. These are just little skills you need to go further in this career."

Crane also works with a case manager to make sure he can get whatever social services he needs while going through that training. These programs are funded in part by grants made available to manufacturing communities.

The Finger Lakes is one of 24 manufacturing communities across the country.

This isn't a permanent program, but Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she wants to change that.

"When President Obama leaves office, Rochester's designation as a national manufacturing hub is set to expire. So we can't let that happen, not when the city is already seeing such a great resurgence."

Gillibrand's bill would make the program permanent, and give other cities an opportunity to apply for the designation.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.