'State of Upstate' conference June 8-9 tackles regional development, public policy

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Joe Schwartz

Engaging with the public by sharing new knowledge, applied research and collaborative programs are primary ways Cornell fulfills its mission as New York state's land-grant institution. As the state emerges from the financial crisis with new leadership in Albany, Cornell's Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI) will host a conference to address challenges and opportunities facing the state.

The State of Upstate New York Conference: Resiliency, Partnerships and Innovation will be held in Syracuse, N.Y., June 8-9 to provide a forum for discussion among policymakers, office holders, the academic and research communities, civic leaders and other stakeholders in the region's future.

"This is an opportunity to take stock of upstate New York during this time of financial stress, the new Cuomo administration, and prior to many important and looming policy decisions at the local and state level," said John W. Sipple, associate professor of education and co-director of CaRDI.

"This is a new initiative that seeks to set a foundation for tracking indicators over time for the health and vitality of upstate New York communities and regions; it's not a one-shot deal, but rather the kickoff to an ongoing set of work that will include publications, policy briefings and workshops," said Rod Howe, assistant director of Cornell Cooperative Extension's community and economic vitality and executive director of CaRDI.

"Demographic changes in upstate New York have been dramatic over the past several decades," said Daniel Lichter, professor of policy analysis and management and director of the Cornell Population Program. "Many communities continue to lose population through out-migration of young people and are now aging rapidly. New York's demographic past is tied directly to economic decline and job losses. Our future will be reshaped by how state and local government, the business community and community groups work together to promote community and regional economic growth."

Cornell and faculty members from other universities, elected officials, business and community leaders, and Cornell Cooperative Extension representatives from throughout New York state will present workshops on nine themes: economic development; workforce trends; land use, environment and natural resources; schools; health care; income and poverty; energy; agriculture and food systems; and local and regional government.

The conference kicks off with remarks by Ron Seeber, Cornell senior vice provost, on the role of universities and colleges in regional development. David L. Brown, professor of development sociology, and senior extension associate Robin Blakely-Armitage will present "The Changing Social, Economic and Demographic Landscape of Upstate New York -- Setting the Stage for Today and Tomorrow."

The June 8 program concludes with remarks by Helene Dillard, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, on CCE's centennial year, and a talk by State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher on partnerships. The conference concludes June 9 with remarks on innovation by Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor.

Conference participants will receive data comparing social, economic, demographic and environmental trends and changes affecting upstate communities; evidence-based information for use in policy review and formation; an analysis of upstate's contributions to the state economy, society and environment; and a post-conference report of the "state of upstate" across the nine themes.

Register online by May 31: http://www.cals.cornell.edu/cals/devsoc/outreach/cardi/calendar-events/state-of-upstate-ny.cfm.

 


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