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Report cites SUNY's economic impact on state

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher
WBFO Newsroom photo
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher

By Joyce Kryszak

Albany, NY – A comprehensive statewide study finds that the State University of New York could be critical to building a new innovation economy for New York.

The study found that the 64-campus SUNY system had a minimum economic impact of $19.8 billion in 2008-09.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher released results of the combined Rockefeller Institute of Government and University at Buffalo Regional Institute study at a press conference in Albany Wednesday.

The findings are based on the spending by colleges and universities, students, employees and campus visitors during the one-year period.

The institutes' report, How SUNY Matters: Economic Impacts of the State University of New York, found that the system also is making a contribution to New York's future economy, by growing and producing jobs in the new economy of the 21st century.

According to the report, key contributions in this area include:

Educating a competitive workforce, through career-specific programs at community colleges and other campuses.

Helping employers large and small with the adoption of new technologies and new ideas.

Rapidly growing the capacity of SUNY research campuses, in particular, to develop new technologies and to transfer their research findings into commercial use.

The report was commissioned by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, who has said SUNY's contribution to the state's economic revitalization is one of her top priorities.

"This is the Power of SUNY," said Zimpher. "The economic impact generated by the 64 campuses of SUNY is massive. The system's capacity to innovate and help new businesses succeed, and to create jobs and populate the workforce with skilled, educated New Yorkers, is unmatched. This much is clear - with SUNY leading the charge, the economic revitalization of New York is certain and the future is bright."

Kathryn A. Foster, director of the UB Regional Institute, said the report shows that "SUNY packs a double punch: it's producing the kind of new ideas we need to create high-paying jobs in New York State - and it's helping produce a workforce prepared to take those jobs."