This week the office of Joe Robach encouraged college students to take part in the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition – one of the largest contests of its kind in the country. With deadlines quickly approaching, student teams can submit their business plan for the chance to win more than $500,000 in total prizes. The regional semifinals will be held in March and early April, and the statewide finals will be hosted by SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany on Friday, April 24.

The purpose of this competition is to give some of New York’s most entrepreneurial college students the opportunity to pursue their business ideas right here in the Empire State. By continuing to provide these opportunities, the next generation of business leaders are being helped to kickstart their most innovative business plans and strengthening the State’s economy in the long run. “I am proud that the State is hosting this competition once again, and I encourage all interested teams to apply today.” Said Joe Robach in a press release issued by his office.

More than 600 students from accredited colleges and universities across New York State are expected to participate, with each team pitching a business idea to an experienced panel of judges. Judges include national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Interested students should submit their business plans for game-changing ideas related to areas that include:

•nanotechnology and advanced technology
•energy and sustainability
•biotechnology and healthcare
•products and services
•information technology and software
•social entrepreneurship and non-profit enterprise

The semi-final round of competition will be held in 10 regions across New York, which are based around the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. Participating host institutions include:

•Capital Region: SUNY Poly
•Mohawk Valley: SUNY Poly’s Utica campus
•Central New York: Syracuse University
•Southern Tier: Ithaca College
•Mid-Hudson: Marist College
•New York City: New York Institute of Technology
•Long Island: SUNY Farmingdale
•North Country: Clarkson University
•Finger Lakes Region: St. John Fisher College
•Western New York: Hilbert College

Since the competition’s inception in 2010, more than 1,130 student teams from 75 New York State colleges and universities have competed, claiming more than $1,300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

More information about the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition, including the date and location of each regional competition, an online application, and filing deadlines by region the office of Joe Robach encourages residents to visit : .


The office of Joe Robach announced this week that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website is the second-best DMV website in the country, according to rankings by, a portal for driver and motor vehicle information. The State DMV site gained the ranking due to its design, ease of use, and scope of available services online.

New York’s DMV website ( underwent a complete redesign in February 2014, giving customers the ability to order replacement driver licenses, renew registrations on mobile devices, make online reservations for DMV visits, and easily conduct 35 types of transactions online.

According to Joe Robach office, the state launched the redesigned DMV website last year. The goal was to make it as user friendly as possible – and this ranking is proof that completing a DMV transaction is faster and easier than ever. This revamped website has set a new standard of customer service with the DMV, and is another example of how New York State is making government work more efficiently and effectively for the people for New York.

According to, the New York State DMV website scored high in a number of areas.

An increasing number of New Yorkers are turning to the State DMV website to conduct transactions. In 2014, the top online transaction was registration renewals with more than 1.9 million completed. Customers also completed more than 5.5 million transactions on the website last year, up from 5 million in 2013 and 3.4 million in 2010.

One of the newest features of the State’s DMV website gives customers the ability to create a free MyDMV account allowing them access to a variety of information. MyDMV account users can update their address, check whether they have any driving restrictions or points against their license, and gather information about suspensions or revocations – along with steps to clear them. Additionally, users can sign up for mobile alerts to be reminded when registration and vehicle inspection deadlines approach. “These are all great features of the website that will continue to make our DMV one of the best.” said Joe Robach in a press release issued by this office.

Washington State’s Department of Licensing narrowly captured the top spot in the 2015 State DMV Website Rankings over New York.


Joe Robach office this week announced a new record in 2014 for the amount of money returned to workers who originally were not paid the proper minimum wage, overtime pay or fringe benefits. In 2014, $30.2 million was disbursed to nearly 27,000 workers – more than any previous year and a 35 percent increase in recovered funds over 2013.

In a press release issued by his office, Joe Robach said, “No one should be cheated out of their hard-earned wages, and we are trying to make a difference for workers across the State by actively cracking down on wage theft.” Investigators recovered more stolen wages in 2014 than ever before – meaning money stays with the hard-working men and women who earned it in the first place.

The Department of Labor’s Division of Labor Standards, which investigates wage theft, is processing cases more expeditiously than ever before, meaning more workers receive money owed to them faster. These improvements are due, in part, to policy and operational improvements, such as referring more cases to compliance conferences to expedite a resolution.

The agency has had a marked downturn in the number of cases under investigation and more than 85 percent of all investigations are now completed within six months.

Region Amount Disbursed Individuals Paid Average Payout
Capital Region $1,200,000 2,026 $592.30
Central New York $430,000 1,020 $421.57
Finger Lakes $1,300,000 1,144 $1,136.36
New York City $18,800,000 13,921 $1,350.48
Long Island $3,500,000 2,209 $1,584.43
Mid Hudson $1,600,000 1,611 $993.17
Mohawk Valley $190,000 426 $446.01
North Country $84,000 376 $223.40
Southern Tier $300,000 320 $937.50
Western New York $900,000 1,588 $566.75

Joe Robach office suggests anyone with questions about minimum wage or other labor standards issues, or who would like to file a complaint, should call 888-4-NYSDOL (469-7365).


This week Joe Robach office highlighted new efforts to combat human trafficking and provide help to survivors as they reintegrate safely into their community. This crime affects more than 1,000 children in New York each year, and it is estimated that nearly 18,000 people are brought into the United States annually for the same purpose. The office of Joe Robach also announced that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month across New York State. A new poster was revealed that lists possible trafficking red flags and a free, confidential hotline.

Human trafficking strips victims of their fundamental rights, and New York has pledged to use every tool to put a stop to this terrible crime. There is no doubt that everyone deserves a life free from forced servitude or abuse, and it takes the entire community in this state to make that happen. Joe Robach office encourages all to learn the warning signs, keep an eye out when traveling, and report anything suspicious to the proper authorities.

Affecting more than 1,000 children in New York State each year, human trafficking is the illegal trade or use of men, women and children against their will for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation. While many cases of human trafficking go unreported, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that each year, nearly 18,000 people are brought in to the United States and held against their will for the purposes of labor and sex trafficking. The federal Justice Department also reports there are as many as 300,000 minors at risk of being trafficked in the United States.

The new poster, which aims to teach viewers to identify the possible signs of human trafficking and what to do if a suspicious situation arises, will be placed prominently in 27 service plazas along the New York State Thruway, other highway rest stops, and county social service district offices. The poster lists a toll-free hotline – 1-888-373-7888 – that can connect individuals with free and confidential help in 170 languages.

Thruway service areas are being targeted for this campaign because many traffickers physically move victims from their homes to other areas. If motorists utilizing the Thruway see something, often they will not know of who or where to turn to report an incident that looks like human trafficking. This campaign brings awareness to the mobile aspects of the crime and recognizes that motorists can be effective reporters to law enforcement.

Identifying trafficking victims can also be a challenge. Traffickers often rely on various tactics to maintain physical and psychological control over their victims, which prevents those individuals from fleeing the situation or reporting their victimization to law enforcement. The proper identification of victims is critical to connecting them with the vital services available to assist survivors in meeting their needs.
New York State’s anti-human trafficking law, which took effect Nov. 1, 2007, takes a comprehensive and coordinated approach to fighting human trafficking. The law created new crimes of sex and labor trafficking, a process to provide survivors with services and assistance and established the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking. The Women’s Equality Agenda would further crack down on traffickers and provide further protections to victims.

For information on services for trafficking survivors Joe Robach office suggest residents go to the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website. Child welfare professionals and those who work with children can visit the Office of Children and Family Services website to learn about red flags and how to help survivors as well.


Joe Robach office announced this week that the 2015 State of the State Address will now take place on Wednesday, January 21 at 1:30 p.m. in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. The State of the State Address, which was originally scheduled to take place earlier this week, was postponed due to the passing of former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo. New Yorkers wishing to attend should visit the Governor’s homepage to register:

Registration will open on Thursday, January 8 at 12:00 p.m. and close on Thursday, January 15 at 5:00 p.m. According to the office of Joe Robach, Individuals who had previously registered for the original State of the State date must re-register.

Seating is limited and tickets are non-transferable. In the event that the number of requests exceeds available seating, attendees will be selected by lottery. Guests will be notified of their selection via email by January 20, 2015. Guests who had previously registered for the State of the State must re-register. The State of the State address will also be streamed online live as well.

Guests are reminded that weapons and controlled substances as well as bags, backpacks, luggage, parcels, briefcases, and like articles will be strictly prohibited from the event.

Joe Robach office reminds those who are looking to attend that photography and videography devices will not be allowed on the premises. Guests with prohibited articles will be turned away and no storage or “check-in area” will be provided for such items.

For additional information, residents are encouraged to contact the office of Joe Robach either by phone or email.


Joe Robach office announced this week that they will be once again partnering with Monroe Community College, The August Group, Time Warner Cable, the Veterans Outreach Center, RochesterWorks! and Angelo Planning Group to present a Career Fair and Networking Event for Business and Technical professionals. This is the 18th career fair put on by the August Group and MCC. Joe Robach office has sponsored this event for several years now and eagerly invites those who are interested to join them!

When: Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Where: Monroe Community College, R. Thomas Flynn Campus Center / Warshof Conference Center (Monroe A & B)

The goal of this event is to connect those seeking employment or a career change directly with local companies’ hiring managers in the business, technical and professional fields have that open positions. With approximately forty companies attending, Joe Robach said this will be a great opportunity for anyone who is looking for a new job or career change to meet local employers face-to-face outside of an office setting. Furthermore, attendees can get more information about what qualifications employers they are seeking in new employees.

The August Group is a volunteer organization committed to retaining local talent in the Greater Rochester area by facilitating career and business networking for professionals, both employed and those seeking e employment. Their mission is to assist professionals in their efforts to broaden their contacts and improve interpersonal skills while honing effective job seeking and networking techniques.

This event is FREE and open to the public; parking is available in lots M and M1, located in the rear of the MCC Brighton campus. For more information, or a list of those employers who are participating, Joe Robach office suggests residents visit

job fair pic


Joe Robach Office announced a state of emergency for the following counties around the state as a severe winter storm continues to bring snowfall across the state: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Franklin, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Wyoming, and contiguous counties.

The storm, which has already brought significant amounts of snow to Western New York beginning Monday afternoon into Tuesday, is expected to continue through at least Thursday evening, reaching into Central New York. As part of the State of Emergency, the National Guard was deployed to affected areas Tuesday afternoon and activated statewide Emergency Operations Centers at 8:00 p.m. Monday night. Staffing at the center includes personnel from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York State Police, Thruway Authority, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Public Service Commission.

“The State of Emergency in counties that have been or will be affected is in place to help communities as they experience a substantial amount of snowfall,” Joe Robach said in a statement released by his office. “This storm may persist until Friday morning with the potential for another two feet of snow. New Yorkers and residents in the Rochester area specially should exercise extreme caution, and stay off the roads until conditions are clearer and safer. Furthermore, older residents and those with medical issues should limit the amount of time spent outside in the elements”

The Office of Joe Robach recommends the following tips to citizens that reside in the storm affected regions:

Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:
•Never follow a snowplow too closely or attempt to pass one. Remember that the highway ahead of the plow is usually snow-covered;
•Adjust speed for road conditions and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles;
•Schedule extra time for winter travel and be patient during ice and snow removal operations;
•Assume that bridge surfaces are slippery, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces;
•Be wary of black ice, which can be difficult to see but makes conditions slippery when pavement temperatures are below freezing;
•Have a cell phone handy, if possible, but do not text while driving; distracted driving is illegal and becomes even more dangerous during storm events;
•Never venture from your vehicle if snowbound;
•Equip your car with emergency supplies including sand, shovel, flares, booster cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes;
•Inform a responsible person of your destination, intended route, and estimated time of arrival; and
•Keep calm and do not panic in case of a vehicle breakdown, accident, or if you become snowbound.

If You Lose Power:
•First, call your utility to determine area repair schedules.
•Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
•If heat goes out during a winter storm, keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.
•Alternative Heating Safety Tips

Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturers instructions. While using alternative heat sources such as a fireplace, woodstove, etc. always make sure you have proper ventilation. Keep curtains, towels and potholders away from hot surfaces. Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors and make sure they work.

If you use kerosene heaters to supplement your regular heating fuel, or as an emergency source of heat, follow these safety tips:
•Follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
•Use only the correct fuel for your unit.
•Refuel outdoors ONLY and only when the unit is cool.
•Keep the heater at least three feet away from furniture and other flammable objects.
•When using the heater, use fire safeguards and ventilate properly.

The New York State Department of Transportation provides a travel advisory system that features real-time travel reports and can be accessed by dialing 511, online at, or via a downloadable smart phone app. The web site features a color-coded map indicating which state roads are snow covered, ice covered, wet, dry, or closed to help travelers determine if travel is advisable. The system provides real-time snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads, as reported by snowplow operators.

Joe Robach office along with The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services also recommends that residents should prepare their homes and families for winter weather. This includes stocking up on supplies in the event a winter storm or power outage prevents you from leaving your home. Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs to see if they are in need of assistance. Additional safety tips can be found on the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at:


Joe Robach Office joined others around the state in helping to reveal that New York State has been honored with the title of “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine. The publication cited the quality of wines, tremendous growth of the industry, and greatly improved business climate. The award will be presented at the Wine Star Awards gala dinner on January 26 at the New York Public Library.

New York has created more than 100 farm wineries, 28 farm winery branch offices and 28 new wineries over the last few years. New York is the third largest wine and grape producing state in the nation, with 37,000 acres of vineyards and more than 375 wineries in 56 counties. According to a recent economic impact study commissioned by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, the industry has a $4.8 billion economic impact and attracts 5.3 million tourists annually to the state. The industry supports 25,000 full-time jobs with wages amounting to more than $1.4 billion. The quality of New York wines has risen substantially in recent years as well. Last year alone, New York wineries won over 700 gold medals or above at competitions across the world, the most in one year in the history of the state.

Joe Robach Office also noted that Taste NY has become one of the most successful marketing programs in New York State history, shining a spotlight on the array of high-quality foods and beverages produced right here in New York. Taste NY produced a commercial promoting the quality of New York wines as well as another video highlighting the tremendous grape harvest of 2013. State wines can also be found at Taste NY stores at LaGuardia Airport and Grand Central Terminal. The Taste NY Market at Todd Hill’s weekly farmers’ market on the Taconic also showcases New York State wines. New York wines are also featured at high-profile events often sponsored by Taste NY, including the New York City Wine and Food Festival, the PGA Championship, the Great New York State Fair and the annual meet at Saratoga Race Course.

For more information about New York State’s farm-based beverage industry, visit or call Joe Robach office.


Joe Robach office outlined the State’s plans for Ebola preparedness and to assure New Yorkers that the State is taking every precaution to protect their health and safety. Eight hospitals statewide have been identified to treat potential patients with Ebola. Additionally, the State Department of Health has issued a Commissioner’s Order to all hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, and ambulance services in New York State, requiring that they follow protocols for identification, isolation and medical evaluation of patients requiring care. In order to ensure that New York is continuously prepared to safely treat anyone who is exposed to or contracts Ebola, an education session for healthcare workers will be held in New York City on October 21.

Joe Robach office went on to explain that the Port Authority will coordinate procedure and practice between all State airports to ensure proper training is in place for airport personnel, and the Port Authority Police Department will be deploying two ambulances per shift at each of its airports to ensure the timely and safe transport of potential patients with Ebola. As part of the State’s preparedness plan, unannounced drills currently occurring at hospitals and health care facilities will be expanded to college campuses and mass transit areas. State agencies will continue to work together and make adjustments as necessary in the weeks and months to come in order to best protect New Yorkers.

“Protecting residents is one of our top priorities in government,” Joe Robach said in an press release sent out by his office “New Yorkers and Monroe County residents specifically should know that we are doing everything necessary to safeguard against the risks of ebola. A thorough effort involving multiple state agencies and authorities will continue to ensure we are prepared to address even the slightest possibility of this disease.”

New York State’s Ebola plan calls for eight hospitals statewide to handle all patients diagnosed with Ebola, with plans to designate additional hospitals going forward. The following eight hospitals have agreed to the designation and are creating isolation units to accept patients:

•Mt. Sinai in Manhattan
•New York Presbyterian in Manhattan
•Bellevue in Manhattan
•Montefiore in the Bronx
•North Shore/LIJ Health System in Nassau County
•Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse
•University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester
•Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island

Joe Robach office outlined some of the State agencies and authorities that are already working to address the threat of Ebola, including:

Department of Health: In addition to updating protocols and hosting training exercises, the Department of Health will plan webinars for all hospital epidemiology, infection control and emergency room staff on Ebola. DOH will also draft another alert reiterating guidance about emergency department triage and infection control and take steps to be sure this guidance reaches all parts of the healthcare system, including clinics, urgent care centers, and primary care. DOH will also conduct an electronic survey of all hospitals to query Ebola readiness activities, training, and the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE). DOH regional staff – including personnel from the Office of Public Health’s Epidemiology, Infection Control, and Primary Care and Health Systems Management Offices – will do joint visits to hospitals and other health care settings using a standard check for things like emergency department triage, care plan, PPE, and training.

Public Safety: New York State Police, the New York State Chiefs and Sheriff’s Associations and SUNY Chiefs are working together to coordinate field advise for police officers regarding recommended equipment and procedures to reduce chance of contamination.

Joe Robach encourages all residents who are looking for more information about Ebola – including answers to common questions and links to other resources on the disease – to visit the NYS Department of Health office website by clicking HERE.


Joe Robach office reminded residents this week that October is “Manufacturing Month” in New York. New Yorkers are encouraged to participate in 60 events taking place across the state throughout the month as an effort to promote and educate residents on the importance of the industry on the economy. Dozens of New York manufacturing companies are opening their doors and inviting the community to join them in company tours, presentations and various workshops in support of this annual national event.

In a press release issued by his office, Joe Robach explained that Manufacturing Day provides an opportunity for companies to showcase their industry practices and innovative products, and the highly skilled jobs available in advanced manufacturing fields. “It’s important to remember that the manufacturing sector continues to play an important role in our region,” said Joe Robach.

Manufacturing Day this year comes on the heels of recent actions to improve the business climate in New York. This year, the State implemented tax reforms that speak directly to the needs of businesses, including a real property tax credit against corporate and personal income taxes, as well as the elimination of the corporate income tax rate for Upstate manufacturers.

Companies in all ten regions across New York State specializing in areas ranging from aerospace to optics and photonics are hosting events to engage the public and highlight the State’s strengths in advanced manufacturing and research and development. A full list of events happening across the State on Manufacturing Day can be found HERE.

New York State’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers, funded through Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, are also hosting several events across New York.

About Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing Day is an annual national event, executed at the local level that supports hundreds of manufacturers across the nation as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology and careers. A panel of co-producers comprised of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, National Association of Manufacturers, Manufacturing Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and guest producer Industrial Strength Marketing provide the centralized support necessary to coordinate this nationwide array of simultaneous events.

For more information, Joe Robach encourages residents to contact his local office.