EDITORIAL: Effort and investment pays off

The SI Group complex on Balltown Road in Niskayuna is shown in this file photo.

The SI Group complex on Balltown Road in Niskayuna is shown in this file photo.

It’s not difficult to understand the importance of jobs to a community and of the need to do what it takes to retain and attract them.

The salaries from these jobs support local businesses and the overall economy. The salaries go toward paying local and state taxes that help support the schools and government services where they live. And the companies these individuals work for invest in real estate, taxes and community needs.

Then there are intangibles from job creation and retention, like improvements to the quality of life of the workers and the quality of life they provide for others in their community.

When jobs leave a community, it has the exact opposite effect – on taxes, sales and services and quality of life.

Last week, the Schenectady/Niskayuna area got the positive effects of strong local efforts to attract and keep jobs, thanks in part to some creative use of existing real estate and more than $1 million in grants through the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority to help two companies grow and thrive here.

One part of the deal will keep more than 100 corporate employees of SI Group in the community, helping them move from their current location on Balltown Road in Niskayuna to office space in Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady.

SI Group is moving research and development operations to its new corporate headquarters in Texas, but decided to keep not only the corporate positions, but also to retain the factory in Rotterdam.

So even though the area won’t retain all the jobs, it’s a victory for the region that it’s keeping all those other jobs here.

Part 2 of this positive job news is that Momentive Performance Materials is moving its corporate headquarters from Waterford to the Niskayuna campus where SI is now located. There it plans to build a new research and development facility that will generate 200 high-paying local jobs.

Each of these companies could have taken their business and their employees elsewhere. There are plenty of other offices and industrial parks they could have moved to.

The fact that SI will retain over 100 jobs in our area despite its shift of other work to Texas, and the fact that Momentive is staying in the region and expanding into space that might have been left vacant, is testament to the hard work of local economic development officials, including Metroplex, to give the companies an attractive and affordable option.

In economic development, success often breeds more success. It’s very possible that these moves could inspire more companies to look upon this area as an attractive place to locate or expand.

Without a strong commitment to retaining and attracting jobs, and without a willingness to invest money in helping these companies get established in their new locations, these types of successes — so vital to the local community in so many ways — don’t happen.

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