Eight things you need to know about the impact of COVID-19 on Saratoga County's economy.
8 @ 8 is a newsletter filled with eight things you need to know on topics related to the economy in Saratoga County, New York. You can expect to see 8 @ 8 in your inbox twice a month. If you have content you'd like us to share or have a topic you'd like to see more of, let us know and we'll work to include it in a future edition! - The Saratoga Partnership Team
1. Building Better Child Care System Post-COVID-19
One industry, too-often sidelined but absolutely crucial in our modern-day economy, has been significantly impacted by COVID-19: child care. Child care programs provide a place for parents to send their children so they can participate in the workforce, provide for their families, and contribute to the economy. Additionally, prior to the COVID-19 public health crisis, limited access to affordable, high-quality child care had significant recruitment and retention costs for employers. As child care programs have closed or are operating at a limited capacity due to the pandemic, the impacts of this lack of child care options on families and employers are even greater. The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Saratoga County Employment & Training, Warren County Employment & Training, Brightside Up, and the Southern Adirondack Child Care Network are conducting two separate surveys to assess the marketplace for future child care needs. Any data collected will be aggregated and your individual responses will remain confidential.

  • Whether you are a parent who currently has children in child care, are seeking care, or have used child care in the past, please take a moment to complete this survey.

2. City of Saratoga Springs COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program
The City of Saratoga Springs has developed a COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grant Program. Established with funding allocated to the City via the CARES Act, a total of 25-51 grants of $5,000 - $10,000 are anticipated to be awarded. Eligible businesses are located within the Saratoga Springs city limits, employ 50 people or less, generated less than $3.5 million in 2019 annual gross receipts, and are able to demonstrate extreme financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant recipients must commit to preserving at least one full-time-equivalent position held by a person of low-income for a period of at least six months. Low income is defined as adjusted-gross yearly wages of $33, 950 or less, as evidenced by the employer’s most recent payroll records. The application period will run from December 7 - January 4. Full program guidance, eligibility info and application forms are available here.
3. Local Destinations Featured in 2020/2021 Edition of Amtrak's New York by Rail Magazine
The 2020/2021 edition of New York By Rail, an official Amtrak publication for 17 years running, published early fall by Content Studio @ Martinelli Custom Publishing. The 100-page magazine includes a letter from Amtrak’s President & CEO; top picks of places to visit in 14 destinations, including 3 that service the Capital Region – Albany-Rensselaer, Schenectady & Saratoga; major annual events, Amtrak special offers and resources; a feature article about 48 Hours in Saratoga Springs written by Brien and Cindy Hollowood plus other articles about Lighthouses on the Hudson, Birding Trails, Montréal Family Fun and Recommendations from New York City Hotel Concierges; as well as a route map and station services guide to 37 Amtrak stops in New York, western Vermont and Canada reachable via Amtrak’s AdirondackEmpire ServiceEthan Allen Express and Maple Leaf service routes.
4. Why Main Streets Are a Key Driver of Equitable Economic Recovery in Rural America
COVID-19 outbreaks in rural areas have created doomsday queries: Will rural America - with its limited health care infrastructure and high-risk industries - be able to survive the COVID-19 storm? Can rural small businesses - the lifeline of many rural towns - withstand the economic toll? What will happen if our nation's Main Streets turn into ghost towns? To better understand the effectiveness of rural downtown revitalization efforts heading into the COVID-19 recession—and the role they might play in a contemporary strategy for rural recovery and resilience—this series uses on-the-ground research in three rural communities from just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. and examines how downtown revival impacts four holistic indicators of community well-being.
5. Can a Start-Up Mentality Save Small Businesses?
Small businesses are increasingly looking like startups as they adapt many of the same strategies born out of Silicon Valley or other tech hubs. They have had to adapt, pushing their products into online markets as in-person sales channels dried up. Just as their startup peers have perfected over the years, owners are learning how to fail fast -- quickly pivot an idea if it doesn't work -- and to rely on their consumers for inspiration or to guide them toward their next product. These skills are proving to be critical for a segment of the economy that has been decimated by the pandemic, and these lessons could be the ticket to their success in coming out of it.

We would love to hear from small business owners on how they have adapted. What have you learned this year? What were the most meaningful pivots and how did they change your business? Please email your story here.
6. Remote Work Requires a Big Investment in Rural Broadband
Providing reliable, high-speed internet to remote parts of the U.S. has been a challenge for years. And the COVID-19 pandemic has created a renewed sense of urgency to solve it. Since the outbreak, many employers have outlined plans to make their remote work policies permanent. Many workers are taking this opportunity to leave big cities for more rural destinations. This presents a significant economic opportunity for rural communities, but only in those areas that can offer residents access to robust broadband internet. Finally solving America’s digital divide will depend on either a technological innovation or governmental intervention. Now there is hope that at least one of those things could be just around the corner.
7. The Changes That Could Help Women Stay Employed
Companies say they’re committed to retaining women, but now Covid-19 is torpedoing female employment. At the begining of 2020, women made up the majority of the US workforce. By mid-April, women's employment had fallen to levels not see since the mid-1980s. When families are forced into a situation in which someone has to cut back on work in order to care for dependents, it’s typically the lower-earning partner whose career takes the hit. In the majority of dual-income heterosexual partnerships in the US, that lower-earning partner is female. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines took a heavy toll on service and hospitality jobs, where women make up a large share of employees. They also shut down the support systems – schools and day-cares — that enable many women with young children to work. Grandparents, friends and neighbours who might otherwise have helped were off-limits for fear of contagion. This article explores what steps firms should take to help women stay in the workforce.
8. The Trillion-Transistor Chip That Just Left a Supercomputer in the Dust
The history of computer chips is a thrilling tale of extreme miniaturization. The smaller, the better is a trend that’s given birth to the digital world as we know it. So, why on earth would you want to reverse course and make chips a lot bigger? Well, while there’s no particularly good reason to have a chip the size of an iPad in an iPad, such a chip may prove to be genius for more specific uses, like artificial intelligence or simulations of the physical world. At least, that’s what Cerebras, the maker of the biggest computer chip in the world, is hoping. Learn more about computer chips and how Cerebras plans to push back the limits of what a computer chip can accomplish.