TECH IN THE 413: A MORE RESILIENT ECONOMY, HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES
The 20,000-square-foot Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) is located in Pittsfield’s William Stanley Business Park. Photo courtesy of BIC.
I grew up in Southern Berkshire County, graduated from Monument Mountain High School, attended college and law school in New York, and worked in the New York State Court for seven years before returning to Berkshire with my wife and children. affect locally. On my first economic development project, I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Gray Ellot, former Chief of Internal Medicine at Berkshire Health Systems. He was involved in the same project because he understood how the economic health of the region correlated. to the physical and mental health of its residents; As Dr. Ellrodt pointed out and backed up with scientific data, a person’s zip code is a better predictor of health than their genetic code.
Years later, when I got involved with the Berkshire Innovation Center, two related research points stood out. First, there is an enormous amount of data supporting the importance of diverse local economies. The more diverse a local economic ecosystem is, the more resilient it will be to withstand shocks such as crop failures, market downturns, business closures, or, as we recently experienced, the impact of a global pandemic. can. Second, jobs in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors offer the best wages and the best paths for career growth, with a much larger employment multiplier effect than jobs in nearly all other sectors. For every job created in this sector, another 3.8 jobs are created in other industries that support that one job.
These three data demonstrate the relationship between individual economic status and overall health, the importance of diverse local economies, the impact of employment in advanced manufacturing and engineering services sectors, and the impact of employment in the Berkshire Innovation Center. It inspires me in my work.
For those unfamiliar, the Berkshire Innovation Centeraka BIC is an independent, non-profit organization that acts as a catalyst for innovation and sustainable growth in technology-focused companies. In other words, we support companies in sectors that provide the best and most impactful jobs. This is an often overlooked sector here in Berkshire, where our economy is blessed with such renowned cultural and outdoor attractions.
As an organization, we are spread across Berkshire County and beyond, but we are based in Pittsfield, a 23,000-square-foot facility with event and training space, multiple laboratories with advanced equipment, and an extensive array of facilities for business incubation. operates the office of We provide learning opportunities for people in technology-focused careers and those interested in such careers, provide shared access to technology for training, testing, and prototyping, We support our sector by building communities of like-minded people who can share knowledge and support each other. In our experience, when learning, technology and community all come together, the ground for innovation is very fertile.
BIC serves 32 industry member companies and over 30 affiliated organizations. Together, BIC member companies employ about 8,000 people in the region, and are expected to grow by an average of 18% over the next 24 months. These companies have made significant capital investments in the county and will continue to drive economic growth and resilience. Their energy makes Pittsfield’s Innovation Center a true home for our business community. In 2012, we tracked his 135 visits by member companies, 211 events/meetings, and his 3,731 personal visits. This included visits from 449 students and her 365 educators.
2023 will see the launch of new programs, new initiatives and new partnerships. All of this is aimed at supporting our sector and providing more entry points into the networks we are building. As more people have more access to careers and career paths in technology-focused industries, businesses that rely on this talent will grow, more jobs will emerge, local economies will become more diverse and resilient, Improves overall economic health. Our county and our people will improve.
Thank you Berkshire Edge for inviting me to participate in their Business Monday section. We look forward to sharing more information from the Berkshire Innovation Center and the people and companies we work with throughout 2023. I’ll explore the new technologies I’m seeing on the ground, their impact on the region, and the priority industries the new administration is focusing on. And we see opportunities for established companies, entrepreneurs, innovators, and those looking to embark on new career paths.
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