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A Historic Inflection Point



In October 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Micron’s CEO Sanjay Mehrotra announced a transformative partnership. Micron Technology, Inc. chose Central New York for an unprecedented investment—up to $100 billion over the next two decades—to establish a state-of-the-art memory manufacturing megafab. This investment is a powerful testament to the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing, fueled by robust federal initiatives and substantial state incentives aimed at revitalizing this crucial industry.


What sets this project apart is its profound commitment not only to economic growth but to the genuine enrichment of the local community.

Recognizing the opportunity to make a lasting impact, Micron and New York State established a $500 million Community Investment Fund, designed to ensure that the fruits of this development are shared equitably among the residents of Central New York. The fund aims to address immediate and evolving community needs, guiding a sustainable development model that genuinely benefits its host community.


At the heart of this initiative was the engagement of Fourth Economy, tasked by CenterState CEO and Empire State Development to spearhead an extensive community engagement process with the Governor’s creation of the Community Engagement Committee of Central New York. Our role was to gather deep, actionable insights into the regional aspirations and perceived barriers to economic participation. The process was inclusive and comprehensive, encompassing public meetings, targeted small group discussions, detailed interviews, neighborhood canvassing, and broad-reaching surveys. The goal was to ensure every voice in the region was heard, from grassroots community members to top-tier local leaders.



The result of these efforts will be the Community Priorities Document—a strategic outline crafted not only to highlight regional needs such as workforce development, education, housing, and community investments but also to catalyze a vibrant, grassroots-driven energy aimed at transforming Central New York. This document will serve as a roadmap, detailing the critical areas where targeted interventions can activate substantial community uplift.

This project exemplifies a shift towards a more holistic approach to economic development, where community involvement and direct benefits are integral to the process rather than afterthoughts. As communities nationwide look to attract similar investments, the model developed here serves as a beacon, demonstrating that strategic planning and genuine community integration can enhance the benefits of corporate investments.


As we watch Central New York transition from planning to action, the lessons learned here provide valuable insights for other regions and policymakers. The emphasis on ensuring that development benefits are widespread and directly felt by the residents is a powerful adjustment to traditional economic development strategies, which have too often prioritized corporate benefits over community welfare.


We remain committed to observing and supporting the exciting developments in Central New York, confident that the groundwork laid by thoughtful engagement and strategic planning will yield long-term prosperity and resilience for the community.


 

Discover how Fourth Economy can catalyze growth and innovation in your region. Explore our website to learn more about our services, read our project reports, or contact us directly to discuss how we can support your community's economic development and engagement strategies.

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