Local business leaders discuss State of the Hudson Valley Economy at SUNY New Paltz

The SUNY New Paltz Student Union Building was the site of the 2nd annual State of the Hudson Valley Economy discussion on Wednesday, June 24. More than 200 local business and technology luminaries came together for this thought provoking discussion of the regional economy, organized by the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC) as part of its Thought Leaders Master Series.

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“We at SUNY New Paltz take seriously our role in convening events of this nature, which allow local and regional stakeholders to learn from each other in meaningful ways with the goal of helping the Hudson Valley to thrive,” said President Donald P. Christian. “It’s our pleasure to be part of that process and have key linkages between our academic programs and promoting positive economic growth and vitality for our region.”

The programming was organized around a theme of education and employment in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEaM), a variant on the more common STEM category meant to highlight the importance of creativity and artistic skillsets in the future of these industries.

The event itinerary included remarks from Laurence Gottlieb, president and CEO of HVEDC, who played an instrumental role in the development of the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) at SUNY New Paltz, which brings state-of-the-art 3D printing equipment and a curriculum in Digital Design and Fabrication to the region, giving rise to powerful forces—art and technology, creativity and ingenuity.

“The great thing about the Center is that its roots are extending out into communities,” Gottlieb said. “It has truly grown into a Hudson Valley-wide initiative.”

The keynote presentation was delivered by Paul Harrington, director of the Center of Labor Market and Policy (CLMP) at Drexel University. Harrington presented extensive economic, demographic and employment data compiled by the CLMP as the basis of broader conclusions about the potential economic value of STEaM education and job creation for the Hudson Valley.

The program concluded with a panel discussion featuring experts on the rise of STEaM jobs and job training in the Hudson Valley, including Dan Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering and director of the HVAMC, and Paul Kassel, interim dean of the School of Fine & Performing Arts.

“Digital design and fabrication at New Paltz began with ongoing conversations between Science & Engineering and Fine & Performing Arts,” Freedman said. “As an institution with phenomenal arts programs and very comprehensive and growing science and engineering programs, we had a great opportunity to collaborate, and 3D printing and design is what came out of that.”

“These are two sides of the same coin,” Kassel added. “Art is a part of the DNA of STEM education. We see more evidence every day that the arts and sciences are allies and that the creative class is the workforce of this century. The collaboration that led to 3D printing is only the tip of the iceberg for what is possible.”

The panel was rounded out by Executive Vice President of the Council of Industry Harold King and Kale Kaposhilin, principal at Evolving Media Network and cofounder of the HV Tech Meetup.

The College was joined in sponsoring this year’s State of the Hudson Valley Economy event by Central Hudson, Mediacom, SUNY New Paltz, Ethan Allen, Sterling National Bank, HVEDC, TD Bank and Jones Lang LaSalle.

The most recent SUNY New Paltz Economic Impact Statement was distributed to attendees and can be viewed online.

More information about the HVEDC is available on their website.