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Unpublished Paper
Education and Training Administration, US Department of Labor (2003)
  • Jennifer Clark, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Susan Christopherson, Cornell University
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The optics, imaging, and photonics industry in Rochester demonstrates strong potential to develop as an engine of economic expansion in the region. The industry, with its international markets and multiple applications, can provide the region with cutting edge technology and help to regrow a strong manufacturing sector. This report and action plan focus on the small and medium size firms (SMEs) in the industry and on how this “cluster” can fulfill its promise and realize its full capacity. There is no shortage of talent in the photonics workforce or in Rochester firms and institutions engaged in new optics and imaging technologies. The region is unusually well positioned because of its long history in optics and imaging. Public and private investments have developed new technologies and built a highly skilled workforce that is both specialized in a set of technologies and flexible enough to respond to changing markets. The economic development challenge for Rochester is to retain and expand these regional assets for a new economic environment. Between June 2001 and December 2002 Cornell University researchers carried out a multifaceted analysis of the Rochester regional economy with an emphasis on the area’s historically dominant industries: optics and imaging and its new economy variant, photonics. This research included industry and occupational analyses based on regional economic data, interviews, focus groups, and an industry survey. A strategic planning conference included stakeholders from throughout the region representing the public, private, nonprofit, and education communities. This report presents findings from the research effort and the October strategic planning conference. Our goal is to stimulate further discussion about how the photonics industry can serve as an engine for economic development and job growth in the Rochester region. Industry stakeholders and participants in the October 2002 conference discussed the elements of an action plan. Key steps included: 1. Decrease duplication of economic development efforts among private and public sector actors 2. Encourage linkages among stakeholder groups in order to foster strategic planning and productive use of available economic development resources 3. Support small and medium sized firms (SMEs) in Rochester — both existing firms and the emergence of new firms — from start-up through commercialization 4. Develop community-industry leadership across stakeholder groups. The broader goal articulated by conference participants and industry stakeholders is the development of a strategic plan to use existing economic development resources as wisely as possible to develop the industry, promote the region, and improve the standard of living of its citizens
  • industry clusters,
  • photonics,
  • economic development,
  • high-tech
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jennifer Clark and Susan Christopherson. "OPTICS, IMAGING, AND PHOTONICS: BUILDING A 21ST CENTURY INDUSTRY IN ROCHESTER, NY" Education and Training Administration, US Department of Labor (2003)
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