ALBANY, NY: Helen Desfosses, President of the
Albany City Council, and professor at the University at Albany
in Public Administration,
spoke about SEMETECH at Save the Pine Bush’s July vegetarian/vegan
The University at Albany is the new home of SEMETECH North.
This is a very important development for the University and
How did this come about? Helen Desfosses gave us some answers.
The University built the buildings, IBM invested hundreds of
millions of dollars in research, and the State of New York
added to the
funding as well. The University has the largest "clean room" in
the United States and one of the largest "clean room" facilities
in the world. What does SEMETECH North mean? According to Ms.
Desfosses, SEMETECH North means jobs.
To get some idea of the impact of this large research center
on our region, a group of University and community leaders
Austin, Texas to learn of the impact on that city of the
SEMETECH facility established six years ago. Austin, like Albany,
the state capital and home to the state university, the University
of Texas. Although Austin was a much larger city to begin
with than Albany, the population of Austin has doubled in the
years and the number of high tech jobs has increased from
38,000 to 150,000. Many more of the University of Texas graduates
are staying in the area and there are now thousands of non-professional
jobs as well. Ten years ago only 10% of University of Texas
stayed in the area. Today 30% find jobs and stay. It is doubtful
if even 10% of University at Albany graduates stay in our
But there have been some unfortunate, unanticipated, unplanned,
developments as well: sprawl, congestion, and increased
unemployment among inner-city minorities. This kind of high-tech
can have the effect of increasing the divide between the
haves and the have-nots. Our region and the Pine Bush should
from SEMETECH coming here. This is a tough region in which
to be talking about regionalization. A start has been made
but it hasn't
gone nearly far enough. Landing SEMETECH--a code word for
all kinds of high-tech development--has put Albany on the
hasn't been very good planning in this area and it is clear
from the Austin experience that planning is essential.
Professional workers are not just interested in quality
of life issues; they are interested in quality of place
workers are university-trained and are interested in
our University and our environment (including the Pine Bush.)
Helen Desfosses suggests that there will be new outreach
opportunities for Save the Pine Bush. SEMETECH itself
is interested in the
environment its facilities are situated in and may
be receptive to making some
funds available. We will need to explore the possibility.
In the area of non-professional jobs that will open
up, the University is already working with Albany
Community College and Hudson Valley Community College
in developing training courses. This too will benefit
area. Issues to
be tackled are air quality, good public transportation
sure that moderately-priced housing continues to
be available. With good planning we should rise with the
tide and prosper.