TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Joseph V. Doria which would establish an innovation zone program in New Jersey to stimulate high-tech industry clusters around the State’s research universities, colleges or research hospitals was unanimously approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee today.
“New Jersey has been a national leader in high-tech industry, with such firms as AT&T, Verizon and others located here in our State,” said Senator Doria, D-Hudson. “One of our strongest drawing points of these companies is our well-educated, highly skilled workforce, the product of a great higher education system. By establishing innovation zones to coincide with our State’s higher education institutions, companies can work with our State’s colleges and universities to share resources, establish internship programs, and transition college students into the workforce.”
Senator Doria’s bill, S-2608, would require the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to establish an innovation zone program which would consist of three zones centered around higher education institutions and research hospitals in Camden, Newark and the New Brunswick area. Designation as an innovation zone would authorize the EDA, as well as the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, to establish whatever incentives they can under current law to draw high technology firms to locate within the innovation zones. The Edison Innovation Fund, created by Governor Corzine, would be used to provide financial incentives for relocation.
“The high-tech center offers our best chance at job growth in New Jersey, and we need to work with the industry to ensure a healthy economic climate for the Garden State,” said Senator Doria. “Innovation zones will allow companies to tap into our greatest natural resource – our young, hard-working college graduates – and will improve New Jersey’s ability to drive developments in the world of high-tech industry. This bill is vital to ensure business growth in New Jersey and ensure jobs for our highly-skilled workforce.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.