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Nanotech forum held at SUNYIT

By JOLEEN FERRIS

MARCY, N.Y. (WKTV) - As local economic development officials continue to travel the globe in an attempt to lure a chip fab plant to the Mohawk Valley, elected and education leaders work stateside to make sure the local workforce can handle the jobs, if and when they do come.

Several dozen local leaders met with area businesspeople on Thursday for a nanotechnology forum at SUNYIT. One of the directors of the Nanoscale Science Center at SUNY Albany made a presentation. The topic - the emerging importance of nanotechnology in the Mohawk Valley.

"Well, it's a competitive environment and I think what we need to do is make sure we're investing properly and I think that's what you're seeing today," said Senator Joseph Griffo. "We're talking about the educational aspect to make sure people are trained properly so they can educate and develop skill levels that will meet the needs of the nano industry."

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi says the key is training students young.

"The key is to stem education. You have to get the kids interested in it when they're young. We're not graduating enough american engineers and it's going to hurt us economically in the future, it's going to hurt us in terms of our national security," says Brindisi.

The state has committed around $20 million to a chip fab plant site near SUNYIT in Marcy. A new road into the college has been built. State leaders have delivered to the college grant money to train its students for nanotech jobs.

The holdup?

A required permit is still stuck in the Army Corps of Engineers. But that could soon change.

"The lastest news on that is that the permitting process has been transferred out of the district office in Buffalo to the regional office so there's a new set of eyes that's going to be looking at that permit process," says Brindisi. "Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer have been very involved. They've written to the president to ask him to intervene so I'm hopeful we're going to see some movement on this right away."

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