Could Syracuse be one of the next growth centers in America? Brookings and ITIF think so

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A new report by the Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) lists Syracuse as one of 30 metros with the building blocks to be a growth center in the new innovation economy.

The report finds that while the future of America’s economy lies in its high-tech innovation sector, that same sector has widened the nation’s regional divides.

It finds a top tier of big, tech- and innovation-heavy metro areas such as Boston, San Francisco-San Jose, and Seattle began to consistently outperform less-tech based places on measures of innovation-driven prosperity.

According to its website, the Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington D.C. Its mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national, and global levels.

“Their point was let’s make sure that there’s a little more parity, a little more balance for where these jobs are created, so that they’re not all concentrated in one or two cities,” says Ben Sio, Chief of Staff for CenterState CEO in Syracuse.

Jen Tifft, Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development for the City of Syracuse, adds, “It largely validates what many of us have been saying and planning around the last year or two.”

They say the holistic approach the Syracuse region is using to grow in the new economy is appealing to many in the public and private sectors.

Sio tells NewsChannel 9, “It’s thinking about how to make sure that other populations, other groups of people that are traditionally left behind by the growth of these industries are not, right.”

Brookings says the nation, “Needs—as one initiative among others—a massive federal effort to transform a short list of “heartland” metro areas into self-sustaining “growth centers” that will benefit entire regions.”

Sio says, “We actually see the kernel of this beginning to happen, it would be fantastic if there was this federal program that could accelerate it a little bit.”

Tifft says the innovation sector doesn’t just mean the traditional high-tech jobs. She points to Bankers Healthcare Group in Syracuse, which is about to undergo a major expansion.

“It’s a financial services firm, it’s not technically a tech firm but it’s growth and the growth they’re expecting into the future is really premised on some of the innovative solutions for financial services they’ve developed,” she tells NewsChannel 9.

They say the fact the city, county, and other local partners have committed money and resources to the effort is an important sign to others looking to invest in the Syracuse area.

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