New Edison Project Would Rekindle Technology Interest

March 17, 2006

Our nation is feeling the far-reaching effects of economic globalization and the loss of distinction as the leader in technological innovation. This is alarming because New York has always stood as one of the best places for higher education and as a leader of innovation.

Over the last decade, New York committed itself to new initiatives, programs and marketing that’s transforming our state from part of the “rust belt” into a forerunner of technological innovation and creation. We’ve created Centers of Excellence and redefined regions with government incentives and names such as Tech Valley in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys and Silicon Alley in New York City.

Now comes the New Edison Project, an Assembly minority plan to continue New York’s commitment to innovation and education.

The United States just three decades ago was ranked third in the world in number of students between the ages of 18 and 24 receiving science degrees; that ranking has fallen to 17th today. Universities in Asian countries are producing eight times as many bachelor’s degrees in engineering as the United States. In response, the New Edison Project would create an array of opportunities and programs to influence and inspire future generations of New York students in the study of the sciences and math.

By encouraging creation of public/private partnerships, providing tax credits for donations, and expanding the TAP program for math, science and engineering majors, the project would rekindle an interest in the next generation of students to explore the science and math fields.

The program would create distinct programs in our high schools to provide students with enriched math, science and engineering curriculum. Currently, school boards can create such programs but receive no special funding; the New Edison Project would provide monetary incentives to support and encourage them. As an added incentive to support math and the sciences, we propose private/public partnerships and foundations to help fund additional education. This initiative would be modeled after Project Lead the Way, a successful national nonprofit program that includes a four-year sequence of science courses focused on preparing students for the rigor and discipline of engineering and technology prior to entering college.

On the college level, the New Edison Project would create several initiatives that help our future math and science leaders by creating a loan forgiveness program for up to 500 students. These students’ loans, up to $10,000 per year for up to five years, would be forgiven in exchange for a five-year commitment to work in New York in the appropriate field after graduation. Furthering the drive for technological innovation and creation, up to $2 million in grant funding would be available to graduate students in all sectors to pursue scientific research for their graduate or doctoral studies.

I will continue to work with my Assembly colleagues to push the New Edison Project in an effort to make New York a frontrunner in technology and innovation.

If you have questions about this or any other legislative matter, please do not hesitate to e-mail me via, phone (315) 781-2030, or visit my district offices in Geneva and Auburn.