Plans for the Big Billion in Buffalo

July 24, 2012 Updated Jul 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

July 24, 2012 Updated Jul 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Western New York is in for some financial assistance according Governor Andrew Cuomo, one billion dollars in aid to be exact. Now, it's up to local groups to decide how to use the money.

"He tasked the Regional Economic Development Council to put together an investment strategy that would help leverage another five billion in other sources of investment and set up our region for long term sustainable growth," Regional Director for Empire State Development of Western New York Christina Orsi said.

There are many different areas that will benefit from the billion dollars.

"How do we accelerator and grow our tourism and how do we continue to grow professional services?" Orsi said.

They specifically focused on manufacturing in Western New York, Tuesday, which officials said is a strong asset for the area. Representatives from colleges, including ECC, local high schools and experts in the business met to discuss how to work together.

"Conversation is all about how do we insure manufacturers can successfully grow here by providing them with the right workforce," Orsi said.

Officials said there are plenty of workers in the area. Now, they must be trained to meet the qualifications of the new-age manufacturers.

Additional speakers brought in include experts from other cities that have been successful with similar projects.

"Even though there has been manufacturing job loss in this region, this area still has strong distinctiveness in steel, metal and glass. So, I think we need to help manufactures stay here and expand," Co-Director for Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program Amy Liu said.

Although manufacturing is only part of the big picture, officials said having a strong plan will lead to better usage of the large amount of money that will be heading to Western New York.

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