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Building regional coalitions to transform talent and modernize manufacturing in Western New York
Brookings
2024.05.29
Western New York’s advanced manufacturing cluster is gaining traction. Anchored by the Rust Belt city of Buffalo, the Western New York (WNY) region has a long history in steel and other industrial manufacturing. In 2012, the state launched the Buffalo Billion―a billion-dollar investment to jump-start innovation and economic and workforce development across WNY. Today, advanced manufacturing presents a key opportunity for quality job growth, with some sub-sectors expected to grow by more than 20% between 2022 and 2032―far outpacing the rest of the nation.

Federal funding is just one piece of a longer-term regional strategy. This case study explores the design and implementation of BBBRC WNY Advanced Manufacturing coalition programs (the expansion of short-term job trainings into low-income rural areas, technology adoption support for small and midsized manufacturers, and rehabilitation of industrial buildings), as well as the synergistic $29 million WNY Manufacturing and Tech Workforce Coalition, funded by the state and philanthropy. This case study offers lessons about how regional partners are leveraging the combination of federal, state, and philanthropic funding to execute a broader regional strategy.