ALBANY -- State University of New York Chancellor John R. Ryan, Business Council of New York State President Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development Corporation Co-Chairmen Patrick Foye and Daniel Gundersen, Economic Development Council Executive Director Brian T. McMahon and Acting Department of Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced a statewide Economic Development Listening Tour, beginning February 8, 2007 in Syracuse.

The Listening Tour is an opportunity for business and economic development leaders around the State to discuss their needs, goals and thoughts regarding economic development and the state's workforce with SUNY leaders, state economic development and labor officials and the business community.

The goal of the Tour is to create an open dialogue and action agenda as the State responds to the challenges of today's knowledge economy.

"The Listening Tour is a dynamic opportunity for SUNY to expand its partnerships with the businesses that surround our campuses in nearly every county of New York State," said Chancellor Ryan. "SUNY faculty, staff and students represent some of the greatest minds and assets available to the business community throughout New York. I am confident that SUNY will come away from these discussions with the knowledge needed to best leverage its existing strengths in economic and workforce development, and I am grateful to my co-hosts for committing themselves to this promising initiative."

"We welcome this opportunity to discuss ways that New York's businesses, development officials, and public colleges and universities can collaborate more," said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council. "Colleges and universities produce the people and ideas that generate new jobs, businesses, and wealth, and businesses must work with them to build the innovation economy that will be New York's economic future. This listening tour will move us closer to that goal."

"There are many ways that SUNY can play a central role in enhancing New York's place in the knowledge economy. The input from local leaders will be invaluable in helping us focus our efforts," New York State Empire State Development Corporation Co-Chair Patrick Foye said.

New York State Empire State Development Corporation Co-Chair Daniel Gundersen added, "To fully understand the challenges facing us as we deal with the state's economic problems, nothing beats the first-hand knowledge one gets from talking to people actually experiencing them. We look forward to hearing all the suggestions from the economic leaders in the various communities."

New York State Economic Development Council President Brian McMahon said, "The Chancellor's listening tour provides a great opportunity to better align the resources and policies of higher education, the business community, and economic development and workforce development organizations with the state's overall economic development objectives. We look forward to working with the Chancellor to implement the recommendations that come out of the regional tour stops."

Acting Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith said, "The Labor Department welcomes the opportunity to be a part of this important initiative with SUNY. It is our mission to support the economic interests of the people and businesses in New York State. By working with our partners, business leaders and state agencies, we can ensure that workforce services are an essential part of strengthening the state's economic foundation."

Discussion topics at Tour stops will include: how SUNY and the State can be best positioned to address the needs of economic and workforce development; the role of SUNY in providing support for communities and economic developers; the role of four-year comprehensive colleges and community colleges in economic and workforce development; how the State's Centers for Excellence can be better drive the economy; how the business community can take better advantage of innovation and invention being produced at SUNY schools; and what support emerging technology companies need from SUNY and the State.

Dates for the Tour are scheduled as follows:

  • Central: Thursday, Feb. 8, at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, from 3-5 p.m.
  • Mid-Hudson: Friday, Feb. 9, at Orange County Community College, from 9-11 a.m.
  • Long Island: Thursday, Feb. 22, at Stony Brook University, from 10 a.m. to Noon
  • Capital Region: Thursday, March 1, at the University at Albany, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Mohawk Valley: Thursday, March 1, at SUNYIT, from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • North Country: Thursday, March 8, at SUNY Plattsburgh, from 1-3 p.m.
  • New York City: Friday, March 9, at the Fashion Institute of Technology, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Southern Tier: Friday, March 16, at Corning Community College, from 1-3 p.m.
  • Finger Lakes: Thursday, March 22, at Monroe Community College, from 3-5 p.m.
  • Western New York: Friday, March 23, at Buffalo State College, from 9-11 a.m.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940