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Investment will help grow an industry here

In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the award of $4.5 million in Buffalo Billion dollars to create a unique visual effects/post-production/animation “hub” in Buffalo’s Tri-Main Center.

Facilitating a joint initiative between Daemen College and a new post-production company, Empire Visual Effects, this funding is proof that a small investment by the Cuomo administration can create not only jobs, but also an entire new industry in New York’s second-largest city.

The $4.5 million grant awarded to Empire Visual Effects and Daemen College will combine specialized technology tools, software, super computer connectivity and a Visual Effects Certificate Training program to fast-track community college students into a rigorous training program at Daemen and then into high-paying visual effects jobs at Empire.

This modest Buffalo Billion investment will create at least 150 new jobs within five years. Moreover, coupled with historic post-production tax credits approved by the governor and the State Legislature last year, this will now allow Buffalo to compete with some of the titans of the visual effects industry in Toronto, Vancouver and India.

This incentive funding has the potential for transforming Buffalo into a magnet for major animation, film and post-production projects, rather than our continuing to watch feature animation and other films leave the state, as has been the case.

This is precisely the kind of higher education-private sector partnership that will bring new technology-based jobs to Western New York, train a workforce that will stay at home and, in this case, create a brand new visual effects/post-production industry in Buffalo. The governor and his team deserve great credit for their vision and commitment to Western New York.

Gary A. Olson

President, Daemen College

Amherst