Location, Location, Location

January 19, 2017

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It may be winter in Western New York but the city of Buffalo is in full bloom.    

Tangible signs of development are apparent in every direction: To the north, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) is erupting into an expansive and vital high-tech health corridor. To the south, a four-seasons’ destination is beckoning visitors from far and wide to the HARBORCENTER hockey and entertainment complex and its Canalside companion. In between and all along the outskirts, the groundwork is being laid for innovative job-generating industries and the robust rise of a truly metropolitan housing market.

Add a world-class educational institution like Canisius to the mix, and the depth and breadth of opportunities for college students becomes unlimited.

“Buffalo’s rebirth is providing young adults with a renewed opportunity to learn, to launch a career and to build a life in this region,” says Kathleen B. Davis, vice president for enrollment management at Canisius.

In fact, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranks Buffalo number 12 (amongst mid-size metros) on its most recent list of Best U.S. Cities for College Students. The ranking takes into account the area’s cost of living, earning potential for residents, diversity and city accessibility. It also considers Buffalo’s entrepreneurial activity, its capacity for academic research and development, the percent of the population with college degrees, and the concentration of arts, entertainment and recreation venues.

Now you’re probably wondering what all this means for high school students (and their parents) amidst the college search process. The answer? Plenty!  

“A college’s physical location matters more than ever before in the ultimate success of graduates,” Davis says.

Juston Lee Locklear ’17 concurs.

“When I started looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to be in a city where I would not get lost in the shuffle,” says Locklear, from St. Pauls, N.C. “I wanted a place that offered a variety of big city experiences and opportunities but had a small-town feel.”

In fact, the value of higher education, Davis continues, “is increasingly tied to practical learning and living experiences available off campus.” Think internships, research opportunities, volunteer and service work. “These experiences are plentiful for students who go to school in regions that are growing and have diverse economies.”

And that’s exactly where Buffalo is headed.

Back in Business

The Rust Belt roots of what was once an industrial hub are now replaced by innovative enterprises in advanced manufacturing, business services, life sciences and high-tech trades. All these new industries – and others – are rapidly reshaping and reviving Buffalo’s economy.

In recent years, SolarCity began construction on what promises to be the largest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere. When opened in the next year, the full-service solar power provider is expected to create upwards of 1,500 jobs in the region.

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus broke ground on a 2 million square foot clinical, research and development complex, which is expected to bring an additional 5,000 jobs downtown over the next couple years.  The consortium of world-class hospitals, healthcare facilities and research institutions already employs 12,000.

IBM announced the addition of 500 new information technology jobs to its Buffalo workforce. Employees will develop next-generation software for molecular research, genomics, energy efficiency development and defense.

But that’s not all.

Buffalo is working overtime to bring even more innovative business ventures to town. Local efforts include 43North, a business plan competition that awards up to $5 million in prizes to winning companies that relocate here.

Start-Up NY is a statewide initiative that provides tax exemptions to new and expanding businesses when they locate on or near college campuses. The idea is to spur economic development while providing joint research opportunities for college faculty and practical learning experiences for students. In Buffalo, more than 40 companies and 11 higher education institutions participate