May 11, 2007

Tech Valley Boost: Capital Region Scores Huge Victory

By: by News 10


A big steal for Albany - and it could position the entire Capital Region on a global scale!

SEMATECH announced Wednesday it is moving its international headquarters and hundreds of jobs to UAlbany's NanoCollege. The Tech Valley giant is a consortium of 14 micro-chip companies - big ones, like AMD, IBM, and Intel - who work together on research and development.

NEWS10's Steve Ammerman has more on how SEMATECH's expansion will impact the Capital Region, from new jobs to new homes, and millions of dollars for education.

It started in Austin, Texas in the 1980's. There, SEMATECH helped revive the U.S. microchip industry - and state and local leaders are hoping it will do the same for the Nanotech industry here in the Capital Region.

The leaders behind the deal say this is the last piece in the puzzle in creating a new competitive industry right here in Tech Valley. SEMATECH already employs 250 in those space-aged buildings you see when you drive by UAlbany. Now, another 450 are on their way with salaries that average around 90-thousand dollars a year.

"To quote from the president of international SEMATECH, they want to position themselves in the area and the partnership that allows them to be most competitive globally - that's why they are here," says Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, with UAlbany NanoCollege.

The state will kick in 300-million dollars to construct a fourth building on campus and buy the necessary equipment. SEMATECH will pitch in more than 300-million to operate the program.

"Certainly, this is a down payment on a great future for the region," Dr. Kaloyeros says. "This is something that is critical to continuing to build on a foundation that is emerging in the Hudson Valley."

And the spin-off factor could be huge. Another 45-hundred support jobs are expected to follow SEMATECH. And Albany could see the population boom that Austin, Texas has experienced since the mid-80s.

"This region has become smarter about growth than Austin," says Assemblyman Paul Tonko. "I think it will be smaller and more systematic. Eventually this region I hope will double in population."