Also in attendance were SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan, SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling and other college presidents from the region. The tour was an opportunity for business and economic development leaders around the State to discuss their needs, goals and thoughts regarding economic development and the states workforce with SUNY leaders, state economic development and labor officials and the business community. The goal of the tour was to create an open dialogue and action agenda as the state responds to the challenges of todays knowledge economy. The Listening Tour is a dynamic opportunity for SUNY to expand its partnerships with the businesses that surround our campuses in nearly every county of New York State, said Chancellor Ryan. SUNY faculty, staff and students represent some of the greatest minds and assets available to the business community throughout New York. I am confident that SUNY will come away from these discussions with the knowledge needed to best leverage its existing strengths in economic and workforce development, and I am grateful to my co-hosts for committing themselves to this promising initiative. Discussion topics at the meeting included: how SUNY and the state can be best positioned to address the needs of economic and workforce development; the role of SUNY in providing support for communities and economic developers; the role of four-year comprehensive colleges and community colleges in economic and workforce development; how the business community can take better advantage of innovation and invention being produced at SUNY schools; and what support emerging technology companies need from SUNY and the state. We welcomed this opportunity to discuss ways that New Yorks businesses, development officials, and public colleges and universities can collaborate more, said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council. Colleges and universities produce the people and ideas that generate new jobs, businesses, and wealth, and businesses must work with them to build the innovation economy that will be New Yorks economic future. This listening tour will move us closer to that goal. There are many ways that SUNY can play a central role in enhancing New Yorks place in the knowledge economy. The input from local leaders will be invaluable in helping us focus our efforts, New York State Empire State Development Corporation Co-Chair Patrick Foye said. New York State Empire State Development Corporation Co-Chair Daniel Gundersen added, To fully understand the challenges facing us as we deal with the states economic problems, nothing beats the first-hand knowledge one gets from talking to people actually experiencing them. We look forward to hearing all the suggestions from the economic leaders in the various communities. New York State Economic Development Council President Brian McMahon said, The Chancellors listening tour provides a great opportunity to better align the resources and policies of higher education, the business community, and economic development and workforce development organizations with the states overall economic development objectives. We look forward to working with the Chancellor to implement the recommendations that come out of the regional tour stops. Acting Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith said, The Labor Department welcomes the opportunity to be a part of this important initiative with SUNY. It is our mission to support the economic interests of the people and businesses in New York State. By working with our partners, business leaders and state agencies, we can ensure that workforce services are an essential part of strengthening the state's economic foundation. The tour began in February with visits to host campuses, including Stony Brook University, University at Albany and SUNY IT. The tour continues through March, visiting Fashion Institute of Technology, Corning and Monroe community colleges, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry and finally wrapping up at Buffalo State College.