Business Development


Tompkins County is a regional employment center for workers from surrounding communities, and thus there is always a ready labor supply.

Weaver Wind Energy 1 MP

Weaver Wind Energy

TOMPKINS COUNTY, despite many areas of New York State and the USA having relatively high unemployment rates, has maintained a low unemployment rate; avoiding the swings other communities have had due to financial stress. A highly skilled workforce is available to local businesses, with the three area colleges and universities providing a strong recruiting pool. The One Stop Career Center provides a variety of assistance for all levels of job seekers and employers, as well as assessment and training for adults seeking to upgrade their skills. Tompkins County is a regional employment center for workers from surrounding communities, and thus there is always a ready labor supply.  The area also attracts experienced and skilled workers from afar for specialized employment opportunities.

The economic engine of the community is higher education. In addition, there is a healthy manufacturing sector, with growth generated by new technology-oriented companies. Key products and services include automotive, micro and nanotechnologies, biotechnology, publishing, printing and electronics. Conventional and start-up financial support spurs enterprise development with customers located all over the globe. Many of the new firms commercialize research conducted at Cornell University. However, innovation permeates the economy as indicated by a rebirth of local agriculture and film studios, expanded health options, and many other creative ventures.


Cornell Skyline

Cornell University is one of a handful of universities in the world making investments in excess of $500 million to modernize life sciences research and education programs. Through its new Life Sciences Initiative, Cornell utilizes several hundred researchers across its campuses in Ithaca and at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City in a broad program of education and investigation, integrating life sciences with physical, engineering and computational sciences.

Ithaca College dedicated the new Athletics and Events Center in August 2011. The building adds to the campus and greater community an expansive, modern space for events of all kinds. The massive A&E Center consists of a 130,000-squarefoot field house, a 47,000-square-foot aquatics pavilion, an outdoor stadium with an 81,000-square-foot lighted turf field, and a 41,300-square-foot outdoor tennis facility. The A&E Center creates a new look for the skyline of the Ithaca area. In the realm of general economic development, there are a number of agencies ready to help a business find a location, expand, start-up, or stay the course. These include the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce, Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD), the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, and the City’s economicdevelopment department. Other organizations provide specialty business development supports such as the Cayuga Venture Fund and Business CENTS at Alternatives Federal Credit Union.

  • Top Ten Employers in Tompkins County

    1 Cornell 9,100
    2 Ithaca College 1,700
    3 BorgWarner Morse
    4 Cayuga Medical Center 1,200
    5 Ithaca School District 1,200
    6 Tompkins County 840
    7 Wegmans 840
    8 Franziska Racker Center 465
    9 Williams George Agency 425
    10 City of Ithaca 410


Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce

Tompkins County Area Development

Downtown Ithaca Alliance