Economic Development

Michigan Approves $50M for Community College Skilled Trades Training Program

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a new training initiative called the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program.

Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan (photo – PunkToad/Flickr)

Through CCSTEP, community colleges in the state will have access to a combined total of $50 million for purchasing equipment that will allow the colleges to deliver education for high-demand and high-wage occupations that need skilled workers.

Each college applying for CCSTEP funding will be able to seek up to $4.8 million. The application process will start next month, and the funding awards will be announced next year in February.

Governor Rick Snyder said in a statement that Michigan intends to lead the nation in skilled trades training, and providing community colleges with funding assistance is a huge step forward in that direction.

The MEDC also announced Michigan Strategic Fund approval of economic development incentives for an expansion project by Thomson Reuters, two separate projects by subsidiaries of Magna International, Inc., a relocation project by Chrysler supplier Mobis North America, and another expansion project undertaken by automotive supplier Shiloh Industries.

Thomson Reuters Inc. develops and sells tax and accounting software for the public accounting sector from a facility in the Ann Arbor area. The operations there have outgrown the facility, and the company is planning a $19.8 million expansion in Pittsfield Charter Township that will create 300 new jobs.

Thomson Reuters was considering an alternative site in Texas for the expansion, but Ann Arbor SPARK helped the company secure a $2.4 million performance-based grant under the Michigan Business Development (MBD) Program. Pittsfield Charter Township is additionally considering offering local incentives to support the project through a property tax abatement.

Magna Exteriors and Interiors, USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Magna International, Inc., is planning to build a new factory in Windsor Township with an investment of $57 million and 281 jobs. This project is getting a $2 million MBD grant, and Windsor Township is additionally offering a property tax abatement.

Magna Lighting, another Magna International, Inc. subsidiary, is building a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Plymouth Charter Township, where it also plans to consolidate its R&D, engineering, and sales and marketing operations. The company, supported by a $3 million MBD grant, is investing $59.2 million into the project, and expects to create 466 new jobs.

Plymouth Charter Township is also the location for another project by Mobis North America, which is relocating from a facility in Farmington Hills, MI to a larger one in Plymouth Charter Township. The company is investing $26.6 million into the project, and expects to create 121 new jobs, supported by a $1.25 million MBD grant. If this project had not been secured by Michigan, the entire facility would have been relocated to the company’s headquarters in Toledo, OH.

Shiloh Industries and its subsidiary Greenfield Die & Manufacturing Corporation are investing $48 million and creating 128 jobs for expanding manufacturing operations in Canton Township and establishing a new sales and technical center in Plymouth Township. The company, supported by a $2 million MBD grant and a property tax abatement from Canton Township, chose Michigan for these projects after considering competing out-of-state sites in Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee.

Indiana Regional Cities Initiative Study Findings

Indiana has released an interim study report that outlines key findings from a study of the growth strategies of eleven regional cities across the nation.

Indiana Regional Cities study report

Indiana Regional Cities study report (photo –

The study was commissioned by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation as called for under House Enrolled Act 1035 signed into law earlier this year by Governor Mike Pence.

The aim of the Regional Cities Initiative is to identify strategies that could help Indiana’s own cities transform into national economic powerhouses.

The IEDC worked with economic development consulting firm Fourth Economy Consulting to identify the regional cities to be studied, and then used the information and data collected to develop case studies and identify common themes found in these cities that could be applied in Indiana.

Regional cities were chosen for the study in three groupings of large, medium and small regional cities. The large ones included Austin, TX; Raleigh, NC; Denver, CO; and Nashville, TN.

The medium regional cities chosen were Durham, NC; Fayetteville, AR; Provo, UT; Boise, ID; and Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA. The two small regional cities included for the study were Manhattan, KS and Brookings, SD.

Case studies were developed based on an analysis of data, literature reviews, interviews with civic leaders in each of the eleven regional cities, and seven site visits by representatives of the IEDC and the consulting team.

The case study information provided in the report is grouped into several themes or actions demonstrated in a majority of the regional cities.

- Bold vision, tenacious leadership, and broad civic infrastructure;

- Regions rally around cities;

- Higher education partners are critical for regional transformation;

- Financing regional transformation requires a multi-faceted approach;

- Regional investment supports quality of place;

- Engage and strengthen industry;

- Private sector investment responds to business climate and talent base; and

- Long-term partnerships with non-partisan thinking.

For example, one of the benchmark examples cited under the bold vision and tenacious leadership theme is that of Raleigh, NC. Mayor Charles Meeker was reelected for five terms and got the entire decade from 2001 to 2011 to carry out his vision developed during his city council days in the 80s and 90s.

Meeker’s leadership drove Raleigh’s focus on downtown development, including the development of an urban main street and a $220 million convention center. All told, $2.5 billion was invested in downtown developments in Raleigh.

The takeaways from all the case studies and the information collected during the study are listed at the end of the report (pg 28). It includes everything from visionary leadership to committed dealmakers and brave civic leaders who stand their ground to advance the transformation.

Another takeaway mentioned is the need for diverse partnerships that include civic, government, private and academic individuals and organizations.

Also cited is the need for a sense of urgency, because the call to action that led to the transformations of many of the cities came during periods of weakness. The report recommends that Indiana not wait until such an economic catastrophe occurs.

Read the full Indiana Regional Cities Initiative interim study report on

1000 Jobs Program Launched to Fill Chicagoland Manufacturing Jobs

A public-private partnership effort has been launched in Chicago to fill open positions in the City and region’s manufacturing sector.

1,000 Jobs for Chicagoland Manufacturing program

1,000 Jobs for Chicagoland Manufacturing program (photo –

The 1,000 Jobs for Chicagoland Manufacturing initiative will attempt, as a pilot program over the next year, to match a minimum of 1,000 qualified job seekers to open manufacturing jobs.

The Chicago Mayor’s 2015 Budget includes $200,000 for this initiative, and adds to the more than $750,000 in funds and in-kind contributions raised by the WBC Advisory Council for Chicagoland Manufacturing.

World Business Chicago (WBC) is the lead Chicago economic development organization, created as a public-private partnership.  The WBC Advisory Council for Chicagoland Manufacturing is a group of 36 industry leaders from across the region.

The initiative will use the funding to raise awareness of jobs in the City and region’s manufacturing sector, and to help increase capacity at workforce organizations matching job seekers with jobs and training.

A 1000 Jobs-branded web portal will facilitate coordination and connect job seekers with employment and training opportunities.

Apart from the City and WBC, the 1,000 Jobs for Chicagoland Manufacturing initiative partners include the Chicago Federation of Labor, the Chicagoland Chamber, Chicago Urban League and more than 50 other partners.

Six non-profit organizations, including The Safer Foundation, OAI Inc. and Bethel New Life, are getting new placement agents to help them facilitate the job matches.

WBC President Jeff Malehorn said in a release announcing the initiative that these manufacturing jobs are available today, and manufacturers are engaging and ready to hire.

Malehorn said this program has the ability to grow the economy and demonstrate to the world that Chicago is the world leader in the new era of manufacturing. That’s why, said Malehorn, WBC is partnering with the workforce development system and local manufacturers to promote the sector and strengthen the pool of potential employees.

The program will also connect people who need additional skills for these jobs to the appropriate training and apprenticeship programs by leveraging training programs already available through the College to Careers program and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

The 1000 Jobs program also includes an effort to link returning citizens with criminal backgrounds to manufacturing jobs that give them a second chance at joining the middle class.

Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez said the 1000 Jobs campaign is based on the simple premise that Chicagoans are ready to work, and Chicago manufacturers are ready to put them to work.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority Considering Incentives for Major Projects

At its latest meeting, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board is taking up for consideration several major projects that have applied for Grow NJ incentives.

The Jersey Comeback

The Jersey Comeback (photo –

One of the projects on the agenda is for global investment firm BlackRock, Inc. BlackRock is seeking a total of more than $12.1 million over a ten-year period through annual Grow NJ grants.

Back in 2010, BlackRock was planning a headquarters relocation and considered multiple locations in New Jersey and in Philadelphia. They ultimately ended up moving just a short distance from their existing headquarters in Plainsboro, NJ to the University Square complex in West Windsor, NJ.

Another huge project applying for Grow NJ incentives is Century 21 Department Stores (LI 2000, Inc.). The NJ EDA board will consider approving ten annual grant awards of nearly $4 million each for this project in Secaucus, adding up to a total of nearly $40 million in incentives over ten years.

Media reports by NJBIZ, AP and others note that Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) is seeking $107 million in Grow NJ incentives through annual grants of $10.7 million for a ten-year period for a project in Camden, but it’s not on the NJ EDA board’s agenda anymore.

Lockheed Martin has previously received $40 million in Grow NJ incentives in 2012 to help the company secure a $100 million defense contract from the U.S. Navy. The company subsequently did win the contract in March 2013, so the $40 million grant ended up saving 1,000 at-risk jobs at their existing facility in Moorestown.

Two other Camden projects in Pennsauken Township are still on the NJEDA agenda. One is a project by Princeton Tectonics. This project may receive annual grants of $1,831,500 for a ten-year term. The other one is Material Handling Supply, Inc., which is seeking $185,250 in annual grants for a ten-year term.

Camden has been able to secure many projects, both large and small, with the help of tax credits approved as Grow NJ economic development incentives. One of the huge projects was a new manufacturing and design center in Camden by Holtec International. The NJ EDA board approved $260 million in Grow NJ incentives for this project through $26 million annual grant awards for a ten-year term.

Another big win for Camden recently accomplished with the help of Grow NJ incentives was the Philadelphia 76ers’ training facility and offices, which was secured with the help of $86 million in Grow NJ incentives.


HUD Offers $24M Under Jobs-Plus Pilot Program to Combine Housing With Training and Job Placements

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is making $24 million available to Public Housing Authorities under the Jobs-Plus Pilot Program.

HUD Secretary Julian Castro tours Central Falls RI with Gov. Chafee, Sen. Jack Reed, and Mayor James Diossa

HUD Secretary Julian Castro tours Central Falls RI with Gov. Chafee, Sen. Jack Reed, and Mayor James Diossa (photo –

The program is designed to help support public housing residents find jobs through an on-site job center located at the housing development which provides work readiness training and job placements.

In order to obtain funding under the Jobs-Plus Pilot Program, PHAs are required to partner with the Department of Labor American Job Centers system to improve employment and earnings outcomes.

The program offers residents rent-based incentives to find work, and also includes a community support for work element where residents share information about work opportunities and other program benefits.

The original Jobs-Plus idea goes back a decade to the mid-90s, conceived to find solutions to the high degree of poverty and unemployment in public housing developments.  Research tracking conducted by non-profit social policy research organization MDRC over six years in cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore, St. Paul, Chattanooga and Dayton compared the results for residents living in communities with access to the Jobs-Plus program against similar communities that did not.

The program was voluntary, but worked very well in four of the six sites which properly implemented the program, generating a substantial and lasting rise in residents’ earnings. Los Angeles, Seattle, St. Paul and Dayton reported that three-quarters of the targeted residents made use of the Jobs Plus services, rent-based incentives, or both.

The Seattle program was interrupted because residents were relocated under another program while the Jobs Plus efforts were underway. In the remaining three cities where it was fully implemented, annual earnings gains among residents averaged $1,141 (14 percent improvement) in the four-year follow-up period after the program’s initial implementation.

Cumulatively over the four years, earnings gains added up to nearly $6,000 per working resident, and to almost $4,600 per resident for the entire development, including non-workers.

The announcement of the new $24 million in funding availability under the Jobs-Plus Pilot was made by  HUD Secretary Julian Castro during a neighborhood tour in Central Falls, RI.

Sec. Castro was accompanied by RI Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, US Senator for Rhode Island Jack Reed, and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa. HUD is one of the federal agencies helping to jumpstart a Central Falls economic development revival.

During the tour, Senator Reed also announced that eleven housing agencies in Rhode Island have been awarded $944,261 under the HUD Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program to help housing residents access job training resources, find work and achieve economic independence.

Minnesota Economic Development Department Launches Pilot Programs to Assist Small Businesses

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced that it is launching multiple pilot programs to assist small businesses in Minnesota expand and improve their operations.

Minnesota small business infographic

Minnesota small business infographic (photo –

The new programs announced include the Job Training Incentive Pilot Program, Innovation Voucher Pilot Program, and the Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program.

Governor Mark Dayton said in a release that these pilot programs will give small businesses the support they need for growing and continue creating jobs in communities across Minnesota.

The Greater Minnesota Job Expansion Program offers small businesses outside the Twin Cities area sales tax refunds on all purchases made for a seven-year period.

In order to be eligible, small businesses must have been operating in Greater Minnesota  for at least a year, and must commit to increasing their workforce at a single facility by two new employees or 10 percent of the existing workforce (whichever is greater) within three years.

The exact size of the sales tax refund (maximum of $2 million per year or $10 million over seven years) will be determined by the Minnesota Economic Development Department based on the investment and job creation associated with the project. This will be a performance-based incentive where DEED certifies businesses to participate, and then monitors their hiring and wage commitments.

The Innovation Voucher Pilot Program will offer small businesses up to $25,000 to help small businesses secure technical assistance and services from non-profits and higher educational institutions.

Voucher recipients, who need to put up a cash match of 50 percent of the voucher award, can redeem the vouchers for everything from research to product development, technical development, commercialization, technology exploration, market development and improved business practices.

The new Job Training Incentive Pilot Program is an extension of an existing program called the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership. The new program will offer grants of up to $50,000 for training workers being hired for new facilities or expansion projects.

Priority will be given under this program for projects in the IT, manufacturing and skilled production industries and for firms located in Greater Minnesota. Recipients need to have less than 150 existing workers, and should be increasing their workforce by at least 10 percent, with a minimum of five new jobs to be created.

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said that these programs will help companies throughout Minnesota continue doing what they do best – creating jobs and driving innovation.

New York Announces Global NY Economic Development Initiative to Boost Exports and International Trade

New York State is launching an economic development initiative called Global NY aimed at making the state’s businesses more competitive internationally and attracting companies from around the globe to New York.

Gov. Cuomo at Global NY Summit

Gov. Cuomo at Global NY Summit (photo –

The announcement was made by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo during his address to the first Global NY Summit on World Trade and Investment held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

As part of the initiative, the Empire State will create a $35 million global development fund and work in partnership with the federal Ex-Im Bank to help New York’s small- and medium-sized companies grow their exports.

Gov. Cuomo said in his speech that New York is going to be the first state in the nation that forms its own Ex-Im bank. The Governor said he worked with the Export-Import Bank as a federal official, and they finance both loans and grants for companies that want to develop the capacity to market overseas, as well as foreign companies that want to come to the United States.

Gov. Cuomo added that the initial $35 million capitalization for the global development fund will provide a real vehicle that can facilitate companies that want to make exactly this transaction.

The $35 million Fund will be used for three separate initiatives. Empire State Development Corporation, the official New York economic development agency, will dedicate $25 million for a lending program to help companies develop capacity to enter new markets.

ESDC will work together on this lending program with more than 20 private lenders in the state to leverage $50 million of additional overall small business lending.

The second initiative under the development fund will be a $10 million grant fund that will provide up to $25,000 to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them develop export capacity including for export marketing plans, market certification, website translation and product adaptation.

The third part of the development fund is an actual partnership with the federal Ex-Im Bank in order to connect creditworthy small businesses to export financing in the form of short-term loans of up to $500,000.

The Governor also noted that ESDC has a tremendous capacity for internationally global marketing, and they are very excited about the websites and online approaches.

The website for the initiative can be found at, which will function as a one-stop shop offering resources and information for both local and foreign businesses looking for business opportunities that can help grow jobs in New York.

The site explains how businesses can connect to programs such as START-UP NY and other New York economic development incentive programs. It offers information and links for the ten regional economic development councils, and contact information for NY State trade offices all over the world.

As part of the Global NY initiative, Gov. Cuomo also announced a series of overseas trade missions over the next couple of years. The first five trade missions will be to Mexico, Canada, China, Israel and Italy.


Los Angeles Economic Development Corp Report – High Tech in LA Supports 368,500 Jobs

A new report that reviews the high tech sector in Los Angeles finds that the sector employed more than 368,500 people in 2013, more than any other metro region in the nation.

Mayor Garcetti releases LAEDC High Tech in LA report

Mayor Garcetti releases LAEDC High Tech in LA report (photo –

The report was prepared by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s (LAEDC) Institute for Applied Economics, and funded with support from JPMorgan Chase.

Highlights from the High Tech in LA report:-

- The high tech sector in Los Angeles employs 368,500 people, accounting for nine percent of all employment and almost 17 percent of all payroll wages. If you factor in the indirect and induced jobs, the sector supports a total of 763,600 jobs;

- High tech jobs outside the high tech sector add up to 104,680;

- All these high tech jobs pay wages that are on average 70 percent higher than wages in other industries;

- The economic impact of high tech in LA is just as impressive, with $58.7 billion in labor income and a total of $108.3 billion contribution to the regional GDP;

- As for the tax impact, the report estimates that the high tech sector generated $21.8 billion in tax revenues last year, including local, state and federal taxes.

This is the first such report quantifying the high tech economy in Los Angeles prepared by the LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics. It spotlights the fact that Los Angeles County’s 368,600 high tech sector jobs exceeds the 313,300 high tech jobs in Santa Clara County aka Silicon Valley.

Not to mention the fact that it also tops Boston-Cambridge (361,400) and New York City (234,400).

The report was released as part of the kick-off of the inaugural Los Angeles Innovation Week to showcase LA’s high tech leadership.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a release that the Los Angeles tech industry is now as critical to the economy as the entertainment and manufacturing sectors, and Los Angeles is outperforming New York, Boston and Santa Clara County.

The Mayor added that in order to keep it this way, they will have to ensure that the workforce and students are prepared.

Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Bill Allen said that this watershed study puts the exclamation point on what they already knew anecdotally, but hadn’t yet quantified about Los Angeles’ high tech and innovation revolution.

The week-long schedule of events celebrating Los Angeles Innovation Week are being organized by the LAEDC, the City and County of Los Angeles, and other public and private sector partners across the region.

Read the full High Tech in LA report – Download (pdf)

North Carolina Economic Development Partnership Officially Open For Business

As of Oct 6, 2014, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina has officially taken over economic development functions from the NC Department of Commerce.


EDPNC (photo –

The EDPNC was created as a non-profit corporation for consolidating and enhancing the state’s marketing and business recruitment functions.

Operating under a contract with the state, the new Partnership will oversee North Carolina efforts and programs ranging from economic development and international trade to film, tourism and sports development.

The NC Commerce Department retains control over state funding and decisions regarding awards of job creation incentive packages.

The EDPNC will use the state’s 10-year jobs plan as a roadmap. This jobs plan was created by the North Carolina Economic Development Board on behalf of Governor Pat McCrory.

The Governor said in a release announcing the partnership’s official launch that North Carolina is open for business, with a new office, new structure and a bold new approach on how they sell the state.

Gov. McCrory added that they will aggressively recruit businesses worldwide and help existing companies grow, creating jobs and opportunities across the state and competing more effectively for business growth.

EDPNC Chairman John Lassiter said this new structure gives them a competitive advantage because they’re enlisting public and private resources to help promote North Carolina’s assets.

Under the terms of the contract with the state as authorized through legislation (House Bill 1031), the EDPNC gets state funding subject to the new Partnership being able to raise a specific amount ($6 million in five years, including $750,000 in the first year and $1.25 million annually for the subsequent four years) of funding through private contributions.

Employees who worked at the NC Commerce Department on economic development functions are being transferred to the EDPNC. Already, the new organization has 34 employees who were previously working at the NC Commerce Department.

A five-member interim board is currently leading the Partnership until official board appointments are made. Thomas Looney, vice president and general manager of Lenovo North America, is one of the interim board members.

Looney said that the new Partnership enables North Carolina to aggressively compete with any state in the country by proactively communicating the tremendous value the state delivers.

North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker said they are delighted to work with the Partnership as they continue to reenergize North Carolina’s economic development efforts.



Rhode Island Gets Its First Culinary Business Incubator

Rhode Island’s first culinary business incubator is now open in the Town of Warren, RI. Hope & Main officially opened the 17,500-square-foot incubator with a ribbon cutting ceremony last week.

Hope & Main Culinary Incubator opening in Warren, RI

Hope & Main Culinary Incubator opening in Warren, RI (photo –

Both U.S. senators for Rhode Island Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse spoke at the opening ceremony, as did USDA Director of Community Programs Daniel R. Beaudette.

The Hope & Main incubator project has been largely funded by the USDA, which provided a $2.9 million loan under the Rural Development Community Facilities Loan program.

The incubator is housed in a historic 100-year old building on Main Street in Warren. The space has been converted into a state-of-the-art cooking workspace for food entrepreneurs in the region.

It includes three shared-use code complaint kitchens for commercial use, a gluten-free kitchen, an artisanal bakery, cold and dry storage facilities, more than 6,000 square feet of production space, and all kinds of equipment for supporting baking, catering and food processing businesses.

It also has a demonstration kitchen, meeting spaces and event space for community events. A weekly food market is going to be held on the premises to give the incubator’s food startups and other local producers a chance to introduce themselves and their culinary creations to the local community.

The non-profit incubator program offers Rhode Island’s food startups a chance to grow in their first two to three years without having to bear the cost of equipping their own commercial facilities. Apart from the fully-equipped workspace, members also benefit from extensive mentoring and an entrepreneurial environment where they can collaborate with food industry experts and peers.

This promising project has been in the works for a few years, and spent the last three years trying to secure funding. Hope & Main was finally able to buy the building from the Town of Warren in June 2013 and complete the $3.2 million renovation after raising $250,000 in private investment and securing the USDA loan.

The good news is that they now have their initial cohort of more than 30 culinary entrepreneurs who are growing their food businesses and early-stage startups from the incubator.

Members of the cohort such as catering companies, specialty food makers, food trucks (Acacia Cafe Food Truck & Kitchen), farmers (Agraria Farm; New Urban Farmers) and even a nutritionist (Nutritionally Sound, LLC) have already opened their businesses, all housed in the incubator at 691 Main Street.

Lisa J. Raiola, founder and president of Hope & Main, said that five years ago they had an idea for a building, but could only imagine who would use it. Now Hope & Main has evolved into the Rhode Island food economy’s center of gravity.

Raiola noted that not only have they created access to business opportunities for food entrepreneurs, but also built an integrated space dedicated to the food value chain from growing to production to sales.

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