Southern Tier 8 welcomes collaborative efforts in launching sustainable community initiatives. As we measure the value of strategic investments, we hope that our residents can be proud of the programs that have made a difference in the community’s well-being and pursuit for economic prosperity across the region. A selection of impactful projects and programs are featured below.

Guard and Reserve Serve 3,608 Patients in Homer & Norwich IRT

IRT or Innovative Readiness Training is a Department of Defense (DoD) military training opportunity, exclusive to the United States and its territories, that delivers joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. Simultaneously, IRT provides key services (health care, construction, transportation, and cybersecurity) with lasting benefits for our American communities. (

This summer, Southern Tier 8 Regional Board, alongside Healthy Cortland and Greater Chenango Cares, hosted IRT events in Cortland and Chenango counties. The event took place in Homer and Norwich, NY from July 12th-July 20th, 2019. The event included no-cost Dental, Optical, Medical and Veterinary services to the local community and the surrounding regions. The missions served 3,608 patients (both persons and animals), completed 21,281 successful procedures and initiated $1,138,882 worth of no-cost medical and veterinary services to the region. The event provided deployment readiness medical training and allowed service members to complete thousands of additional on-site training activities including, but not limited to, active shooter training, communications training, diversity and inclusion training, medical certification programs and more.

Southern Tier 8 Regional Board was the multi-site applicant and acted as military liaison throughout the planning and implementation stages. Southern Tier 8 serves as the local partner for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).  ARC understands the benefit and importance of the IRT missions and invested $30,000 to the event for marketing/outreach and supplies. This event would not have been possible without the support of both Cortland and Chenango County, Seven Valleys Health Coalition, Chenango County United Way, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the New York State Department of State.

Additionally, over 300 volunteers provided approximately 10,000 volunteer hours during the two-week mission, posted at both sites. Volunteers provided intake and outtake services, acted as waiting room attendants, assisted with water distribution, patient runners, greeters, parking lot attendants, etc.

In planning for future missions, Southern Tier 8 is seeking community partners who are interested in hosting an IRT mission. IRT missions are not limited to medical, additional services include cyber security, engineering and transportation training missions. If your organization is interested in participating in a medical mission or has a shovel ready site in need of military-grade engineering services, we want to hear from you. If you have questions about this year’s event or are interested in hosting an IRT event in 2021. please contact Jaclyn Courter and the Southern Tier 8 offices. The application is due to the Department of Defense by September 2019.

For photos and news articles from the 2019 event please visit: or the Healthy Cortland and Greater Chenango Cares Facebook pages.

To be a community partner and be considered a host a 2021 event please contact Jaclyn Courter for more information at or (607) 727-1033.  For additional information on IRT please visit the DoD’s page at

For additional information about IRT, click on the link provided;

Innovative Readiness Training for military & services provided for rural communities

Over the last few years, Southern Tier 8 was matched for several Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training programs that offered training programs for the military while providing health care and engineering assistance to residents in Chenango and Cortland counties. County Planning Departments, Greater Chenango Cares, the Chenango County Agricultural Society and Healthy Cortland were key partners in these projects and provided services valued at more than $3.7 million.

IRT patient

Workforce training for an emerging industry

In January 2016, Hartwick College opened New York State’s first Center for Craft Food and Beverage to serve as the region’s resource for testing, education and business development in the emerging brewing industry. In the first 9 months of operation, the Center not only analyzed 836 analytical lab samples, but also provided direct assistance to 53 businesses (10 breweries, 11 hop farms and 32 craft malthouses).

group of people Hartwick lab
Hartwick lab

A holistic approach for economic development

In 2016, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County developed a program to provide food and farm-based entrepreneurs with training and technical assistance in business development, marketing and processing, with access to the Regional Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen. The program was expected to assist 40 food-based businesses, farms and individual entrepreneurs and help create five new businesses. Since program inception, the team at CCE has provided technical business assistance to 110 farms and food-based businesses across 5 counties in New York and Pennsylvania. 4 new businesses have launched. In the first year, sales for the businesses increased across the region by $200 per week, which is $10,000 additional income.

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Broome Regional Farmers Market Entrance
Regional Farmers Market Kitchen

Career Opportunities in Rural Education (CORE) for the next generation

The CORE Initiative has focused on preparing future leaders of tomorrow to excel in the 21st-century job market. Local superintendents designed programs that take STEM skills and have applied the skill sets to regional and local workforce demands. The program coordinators have established focused programs for students in BioMedical Sciences at Milford and Charlotte Valley Schools, Advanced Manufacturing program at Edmeston, and Energy at Schenevus. In the first two years, 10 courses have been offered to 377 students across 5 school districts.

An ecosystem to support start-ups

In 2013, EDA committed $2 million to support the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Binghamton to provide co-working space, wet & dry labs, event space and administrative support. With the help of the Koffman family, Binghamton University and SUNY Broome, the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator opened its doors in 2017. In the first 6 months of operation, 37 entrepreneurs received guidance and assistance to develop their businesses. This diverse community of talent includes an urban farmer, a manufacturer of lithium ion batteries, a personal care product developer and a hemp wine producer.

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Exterior photo of the Koffman Incubator
Different angle exterior photo of the Koffman Incubator

Exploring the arts & agriculture of Appalachia

Launched May 12, 2018, the Tioga Arts & Agriculture Trail is a countywide, self-guided tour through the region’s finest art studios, galleries and farmland. For maps & routes, click below.

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Tioga Arts inside exhibit
art painting