Tired of all the negative headlines in the state? I am too – especially since there is a lot of good news out there!
Amazon, for example, just announced plans to create a new state-of-the-art 855,000 square-foot fulfillment center in North Haven, creating 1,800 jobs and injecting $255 million into the local economy.
And United Technologies just opened its new, expanded $60 million R&D center in East Hartford. UTC also announced it will spend an additional $115 million on new advanced manufacturing and engine research centers.
What’s more, Xerox, Pitney Bowes, Sikorsky, AQR, Henkel, Vineyard Vines, and Blue Sky Studios – global brands headquartered in the state – have recently announced their intention to grow their presence here, citing our talent pool of well-educated, productive and innovative workers; our eminent educational institutions; our strategic location; and our unsurpassed quality of life.
You can read about these and other encouraging economic developments in this issue of The Business Edge.
Amazon to employ 1,800 at $255M distribution center it will build in North Haven
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, will build a new $255 million, 855,000-square-foot distribution center in North Haven. The company said it will employ 1,800 people, more than 1,500 of them full-time, at wages it says are 30 percent higher than traditional retail pay.
With the new distribution center, Amazon will become one of the state’s largest employers. About 2,000 people already work at its facilities in Wallingford and Windsor. Amazon will earn up to $20 million in state tax credits under the First Five program for meeting job-creation and capital investment goals.
CTNext awards 4 Innovation Places grants to attract tech entrepreneurs, young talent
New Haven, Stamford, Hartford-East Hartford and New London-Groton have been awarded the first CTNext Innovation Places grants. These grants are designed to help develop urban districts that promote high-tech business growth.
The winners were selected from 12 finalists, all of which were public-private partnerships. They created plans to promote economic development and boost cities by attracting high-tech startups and young, talented people. CTNext is part of Connecticut Innovations, the state’s venture-capital firm.
UTC opens $60M research center in East Hartford, announces $115M for more facilities
United Technologies has unveiled its new and expanded $60-million innovation hub on its East Hartford campus. The new center, comprising 185,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, employs over 500 people, more than 350 of whom have doctoral degrees, said Greg Hayes, UTC chief executive officer.
UTC also announced plans to add two new facilities in East Hartford – a $75-milliion Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence and a $40-million Engine Compressor Research Facility. The research centers are part of UTC’s agreement with the state to spend $500 million to upgrade and expand its Connecticut research facilities.
Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. featured in national group’s career-awareness video
A new video that informs young people about advanced manufacturing prominently features Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. (CTDIDI), which has alerted thousands of Connecticut pupils to manufacturing’s career possibilities. CTDIDI is led by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and funded by the Manufacturing Innovation Fund through DECD.
“Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. is a leading voice for manufacturing careers. Its Young Manufacturers Academies and Making It Real Summits for girls have exposed thousands of students to the opportunities in our industry,” said Brent Weil, senior vice president at The Manufacturing Institute, which produced the video.
Partnership of education and manufacturers exceeds worker-training goal – by a lot
A partnership of Connecticut community colleges and advanced manufacturers designed to train and employ new workers has exceeded its goal. The partnership, known as “300 Days, 300 Jobs,” aimed to enroll 300 students in Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers (AMTCs) at seven community colleges, have them complete the AMTC 10-month certificate program and place them in jobs. It was launched in August 2016. The result?
“We have graduated more than 450 students to careers in advanced manufacturing,” said Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities. Manufacturers including Pratt & Whitney and Electric Boat – both of which have announced the need to hire thousands of new workers – worked with the AMTCs on the initiative.
Check out these recent articles spotlighting businesses that are growing and thriving in Connecticut, including Identification Products Corp., Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Hartford HealthCare, ASML, Commercial Sewing and Alpha Q.
New UConn Technology Incubation Program helps match startups with investors
The UConn Technology Incubation Program, established to accelerate the growth of technology-based startups that have strong connections to the university, has launched a new series of events where entrepreneurs can meet investors. The Innovation & Investment Series hosts startup CEOs, entrepreneurs and members of the angel and venture capital community.
The Technology Incubation Program is currently home to 33 companies – the most in the program’s history. Companies in the program had a record year in 2016, with almost $40 million raised in debt and equity. This is $15.5 million more than the previous record set in 2014.
Connecticut Supplier Connection linking more big companies with smaller businesses
At its recent inaugural Growth Summit, Connecticut Supplier Connection, which links big companies with smaller local suppliers, announced that it has grown from one buyer to eight and 42 registered suppliers to 215.
The Supplier Connection, of which the state is a Regional Growth Partner, is planning a Supplier Development Academy that will teach smaller companies the secrets to navigating big companies’ procurement processes, and will also host matchmaking sessions to introduce buyers to sellers. The initiative links large corporations with suppliers that have less than $50 million in revenues and fewer than 500 employees.
A conversation with Nancy Cowser, Executive Director of Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer)
Nancy Cowser started as the Executive Director of seCTer in January. In her role, Ms. Cowser works to promote economic growth in the region through business partnerships, counseling, and small loan services. In this “A conversation with…” we learn about the impact seCTer is having in southeastern Connecticut and the direction she is taking the organization.
Can you tell us a little more about seCTer in general and the ways the organization is supporting businesses growth in southeastern Connecticut?
seCTer is southeastern Connecticut’s economic development district. As such, we are charged with developing and facilitating implementation of the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, commonly called the CEDS. We work closely with key community organizations, businesses, leaders and other stakeholders to create a vision and plan that is congruent with regional priorities and strategies, and is nimble enough to be responsive to our rapidly changing economy. In addition to the CEDS and in partnership with DECD, seCTer has a robust small business development lending program. seCTer also runs the state’s Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), which helps businesses bid on local, state and federal government contracts. This year we will lend up to $3 million to small businesses and our nearly 600 PTAP clients will realize more than $150 million in government contracts.
Tell us about your Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
We work closely with DECD and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to ensure that our plan supports statewide economic development goals. The CEDS is currently under review by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and as soon as it’s approved we can start working it. seCTer will be responsible for its implementation, which can range from supporting existing groups, to creating new teams to tackle issues not currently being addressed. seCTer will also be responsible for regularly reporting on the plan’s results, including developing metrics to measure the region’s success toward meeting the CEDS goals. It is a very broad and ambitious plan – almost audacious in its scope – but we were determined to set a very high bar.
What other organizations besides DECD and OPM do you work with?
There are so many fantastic organizations, nonprofits, municipalities, chambers of commerce and other groups that we work with across the state. It would take me too long to name them all. But a few of them include the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, the United Way, and the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB).
The announcement of Electric Boat that it will hire 5,000 new employees by 2030 will be a huge benefit to the region. Have you been working with the EWIB to help address EB’s workforce needs?
Yes, seCTer is actively engaged in all aspects of this exciting opportunity. Working closely with the EWIB, we are focused on bringing resources to continue to develop the manufacturing and healthcare pipelines. We also sit on both the manufacturing and healthcare subcommittees of the EWIB. But it’s not just about workforce development. Creating a sense of place – a region where people want to work, live and play – underpins successful workforce development for all our education partners and employers.
How important is the proposed plan by the Mohegan Tribe to redevelop the Norwich Hospital site into a dozen amenities, including an indoor water park, a senior living center, and a sports complex to creating this sense of place?
I cannot overemphasize how important this project is to our region. And to Preston and the Mohegan Tribe’s great credit, they have ensured that this is perceived and marketed as a tremendous regional opportunity. We must all work together toward the fulfillment of this amazing vision, and I can honestly say that we are all committed to doing so. This project will strengthen the entire region and directly ties into just about all of the CEDS’ broad goals.