In the 1990s, Long Island, New York, saw a significant decrease in defense industry activity from its peak of $4 billion.
OEA awarded a planning grant to the State of New York to help Long Island address the needed economic diversification and worked with educational, research, and high-tech institutions to develop business.
In the 1990s, more than 40 percent of Long Island’s manufacturing work was dependent on defense spending. From 1987 to 1991, Defense Prime Contract Awards over $25,000 dropped by 26 percent, and future defense cutbacks threatened more jobs. The projected cuts in the defense budget at the time were estimated to cause New York State an additional 56,000 defense-related jobs, adding to the 45,000 jobs lost since 1986.
To assist the State of New York in addressing the significant reduction of defense industry activity on Long Island, OEA awarded a planning grant to the State of New York. As a result of the planning grant, the Long Island Defense Diversification Initiative was organized as a short term project to help 9 Long Island defense contractors with their technology commercialization efforts. The underlying objective of this program was to define ways that industry, government, and higher education could combine talents and work together to solve common problems brought about by the decline in defense business opportunities for these Long Island companies.
The Defense Diversification methodology developed for this project helped identify subcontractors and suppliers most likely to succeed in diversifying into other industrial sectors. A secondary effort focused on facilitating better synergy among the educational institutions, research laboratories, and high tech businesses to create business and employment opportunities for those dislocated by the defense downsizing.
As a result of the conclusions and recommendations of the Long Island Defense Diversification, both the private and public sectors were able to fully develop and implement plans addressing the potential job loss due to defense program changes. By the end of the decade, the Long Island economy had rebounded from defense industry cutbacks.