By Joyce Lobeck for Yuma Sun
The Yuma-area’s efforts to create more jobs is getting help through a half-million-dollar federal grant awarded to a regional collaboration to develop a strategic plan for manufacturing in Southern Arizona and New Mexico.
The collaboration, Innovation Frontier Southwest, has been awarded a $457K grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The grant is designed as a series of targeted studies that will allow the border region to determine current assets and deficits in infrastructure, workforce, research and policy.
Innovation Frontier Southwest is a collaboration of Tech Parks Arizona, the University of Arizona’s technology-parks arm; Pima County; the Arizona Commerce Authority; the city of Tucson; the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp.; Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc.; and two agencies in New Mexico.
Although most of the grant activity will be in Tucson, GYEDC will help with the initial development of the data and “hopefully reap the benefits of the assets,” said Julie Engel, president and chief executive officer of the Yuma organization.
It complements a $140K grant that Yuma County and GYEDC received through the same program. That grant, announced in late September, will fund a study to identify barriers to attracting manufacturers to the Yuma area, Engel said.
The grants will help communities undertake the strategic planning necessary to compete for the IMCP Challenge being launched this fall and awarded in the spring.
In the 2014 Challenge competition, the administration will designate standout “manufacturing communities” and give them an advantage in securing grants and investments through programs offered by 10 federal departments and agencies across the government.
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