As we celebrate 50 years of service in the community, it’s important to note how the IDA’s mission has expanded.
We incorporated in 1972 under the state’s IDA authority to provide financial incentives to private companies, with the goal of increasing job opportunities and overall economic welfare in the county. In the early years, IDAs and the benefits they could offer focused on industrial/manufacturing opportunities. The practice of economic development focused more on business attraction to a defined site and left community development and other business needs to the sponsoring town or village.
Today, the industry has evolved and economic development encompasses many realms, from workforce development to housing and renewable energy. Inviting a new business to the community or assisting in the physical expansion of an existing one is no longer enough; a wholistic approach is needed to ensure businesses continue to invest in the community.
One such example is the recently held manufacturing event at Corning-Painted Post Middle School. On Wednesday, May 11, all eighth-grade students assembled to view IDA-sponsored videos filmed in county manufacturing facilities that highlighted jobs available. The videos and the event were created to inform students, parents, school faculty, and the community about modern manufacturing and the great career opportunities available locally. In Steuben County, there are nearly 5,000 jobs in manufacturing, making this industry one of the largest employment sectors in the county.
The IDA recognizes the need to engage with students early in their educational journeys to help create a talent pipeline by promoting career paths that will keep our youth here through good-paying jobs with benefits. Our focus on building an economic development ecosystem and the relationships staff has built with educational partners and the business community have allowed us to bridge the gap for students between education and local careers.
The manufacturing videos are the first step in what we hope will be an expanding partnership between leaders of our largest industry clusters and our educational partners to ensure that businesses and the residents of Steuben County prosper in the coming years.