EDA Awards $21M in Grants to Projects Creating 2500 Jobs in 11 States

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $21.1 million in grants being awarded to 16 economic development projects in 11 states.


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It is expected that the projects being funded will raise $505 million in additional investments, and will create a combined total of more than 2,500 jobs.

The list of 16 projects includes four recipients in California. The Cities of Mt. Shasta and Imperial are getting $3 million each, while Delano and Yuba are getting $1.8 million each.

The City of Imperial is getting $3 million to help it support the development of the Alliance and Innovative Regional Center, which is an EB-5 investment initiative. This center is expected to create more than 640 jobs by helping provide green cards to foreigners who invest in qualified projects and help create jobs.

Mt. Shasta is getting $3 million for making water infrastructure improvements that will allow the city to provide support for a new water bottling plant. This project is expected to generate $20 million in private investments and will create 60 new jobs.

Yuba is likewise getting $1.8 million for water system improvements that will enable an expansion of Yuba County Airport Industrial Park and support continued manufacturing growth. This project will help create 150 jobs.

Delano is also getting $1.8 million for building a rail spur connecting the city to an industrial park, which is expected to boost commercial activity at the park and provide more employment opportunities.

Dothan, Alabama is getting $1 million from the EDA to help build up aerospace sector activity at Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority. The grant will be used for roadway and water system improvements, which is expected to be helpful for an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) project at the airport that is expected to generate $7.5 million in private investment and create 300 new jobs.

In Miami, Florida, the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency is getting $600,000 for a historic rehabilitation project. The City of Miami Hospitality and Culinary Institute will be housed in the rehabilitated church. This project is expected to create 139 jobs while expanding training opportunities for hospitality workers.

The Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, is getting a $1.5 million grant that will help establish the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship in a renovated downtown property that housed a bank.

The city of Florence, South Carolina is getting $1 million to make water system improvements that will facilitate a $27 million expansion at the Honda plant. This project will help retain 600 jobs and create 65 new jobs.

The rest of the grants are as follows:-

Avoyelles Parish Port Commission of Simmesport, Louisiana – $1.2 million

LaSalle Parish Police Jury of Jena, Louisiana – $500,000

City of Jonesburg, Missouri – $1.9 million

Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center of Choctaw, Oklahoma – $300,000

City of Moore, Oklahoma – $300,000

Redevelopment Authority of Easton Pennsylvania – $1.5 million

South Plains Community College of Levelland, Texas – $475,000

Cedar City, Corporation of Cedar City, Utah – $935,900

E2 Report – Top 10 States for Clean Energy Projects

A new report released just in time for Labor Day by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) reveals that at least 58 clean energy and clean transportation projects have been announced in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2013, and these projects could create up to 38,600 jobs.

E2 Clean Jobs report

E2 Clean Jobs report (photo –

E2 Executive Director Judith Albert said that as Labor Day is here and the nation is focused on the economy and jobs, clean transportation and clean energy projects are creating jobs and continue to drive economic growth from one end of the nation to the other.

It’s no surprise that California led the way with 12 announced solar, wind, transportation and biofuels projects in Q2 2013 that could create more than 9,000 new jobs.

What’s new is that for the first time, Hawaii made the top 10 list of states with the most quarterly clean jobs project announcements, thanks to a $300 million initiative to upgrade government buildings such as airports, prisons, universities and waterwater treatment plants. These projects will create around 5,000 jobs.

Maryland was in third place behind Hawaii, with most of the credit going to the $2.6 billion expansion of Baltimore light-rail system’s Red Line, which is expected to reduce carbon emissions and traffic, while creating 4,200 construction jobs.

Both Missouri and Kansas also ended up on the list, thanks to the announcement of the $2 billion “Grain Belt Express Clean Line” transmission line upgrade project by Clean Line Energy Partners LLC. This project will transmit more than 3,500MW of wind energy from Missouri and Kansas to other states, and is slated to create more than 5,500 jobs during the planning, construction and operation stages.

Other states on the E2 top 10 list for the second quarter include Alaska, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Texas. Alaska also made this list for the first time, courtesy of a weatherization project being sponsored by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. that is slated to create in excess of 600 jobs.

In Nevada, a 350MW solar-photovoltaic generation plant project capable of powering 105,000 homes was announced. This project will create 370 construction and permanent jobs. Another 200 jobs were created in Nevada by the opening of a new K2 Energy battery plant in Henderson.

Read the full E2 report on the Q2 2013 Clean Jobs Project Announcements – Download (pdf)

Agenda Overview – 2013 NADO Annual Training Conference

The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Annual Training Conference (ATC) is scheduled to be held August 24-27, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

NADO Annual Training Conference

NADO Annual Training Conference (photo –

More than 650 development professionals will attend the NADO ATC, looking to take advantage of the networking opportunities, share solutions for challenges and learn new approaches.

Participants will attend workshops, learning labs, presentations by leading experts, and a full slate of breakout sessions.

The agenda for Saturday, Aug 24 includes a learning lab on embracing technology as a management tool, and another one on what the Health Care Reform Act means for RDOs.

Another learning lab on Saturday provides a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy primer, exploring the latest thinking in economic development and how it guides development of a CEDS.

A fourth learning lab on how a high-impact CEDS can be developed using publicly available and free data tools will be conducted by NADO Economic Development Director Brian Kelsey and Lia Bolden, data dissemination specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau.

The agenda for Sunday includes a session on how to prepare for an audit, and a workshop on the roles and responsibilities of policy officials serving on regional council boards or their Economic Development District. Another learning lab will highlight tools and suggestions to help policy officials communicate with different audiences, including those challenging the services and programs of the EDD.

There will be a session on how EDDs can incorporate disaster resiliency plans into their CEDS. Another one looks at the increasing trend of economic development as a statewide collaborative effort among regional councils and EDDs. Around 15 states are already engaged in planning or executing plans for a statewide CEDS initiative, many of which are funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The plenary session on Monday, Aug 26 will focus on “Regional Resilience in Action,” followed by four concurrent sessions, including one on engaging staff in changing times and another one on federal-local partnerships for implementing place-based economic development. The other two focus on building resilient communities and regional council accountability.

The post-lunch agenda includes more concurrent sessions on topics such as building partnerships with academia, federal disaster recovery and resilience resources, transit programs to make jobs accessible, building enduring regional partnerships, and broadening economic development to include non-traditional sectors such as arts and culture, artisanal foods and beverages, green products, creative enterprises, etc.

The agenda for Tuesday, August 27 includes a plenary session on folding new strategies into economic development, followed by concurrent sessions on international leadership, rural wealth creation, and cloud-based project management and information exchange.

Other sessions scheduled for Tuesday include presentations by two regions that are redeveloping better and stronger after disasters, a session on regional council strategies for handling boom and bust economies, case studies in downtown redevelopment, and innovative approaches for strengthening small businesses.

What: NADO Annual Training Conference

When: Aug 24-27, 2013

Where: Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, California

Modesto, CA Plans Downtown Incentive Program

The City of Modesto in Stanislaus County, California is planning to offer a package of cash and tax break incentives to downtown businesses.

Modesto, CA

Modesto, CA (photo –

The Modesto City Council’s Economic Development Committee will be meeting later today to decide on approval of the package.

Projections generated using IMPLAN show that the incentivized economic activity will lead to creation of 344 new jobs and $13,914,349 in new labor income.

Half the incentives would go to offices and the other half to restaurants and retail businesses. Around 197 of the new jobs created will be in offices used by professionals, with the rest divided between restaurants and retail outlets.

The average annual wage for downtown employees in Modesto is $45,000, which means a two-income family would have an income of $90,000. If the same holds true for the new jobs, the wages would be 10 percent higher than the average wage in the Modesto area.

The City Council had commissioned the Downtown Hospitality Program (DHP), a collaborative partnership between the City, Stanislaus Alliance and other interested stakeholders, to look into how the downtown could be made more hospitable and attractive.

DHP then set up its economic development committee to look into the matter. This committee submitted a report earlier this year which said that the downtown was a “sleeping economic giant” with lots of potential for boosting occupancy and intensification.

They said that at double the existing density, downtown could accommodate 10,000 more jobs, with plenty of room for further intensification.

The committee then set out to develop an incentive program to help realize this potential. They have recommended three types of incentives, including for occupancy, new developments and physical improvements.

The occupancy incentives include a City mill tax refund, sales tax refund, and cash for new businesses or those relocating to the downtown, based on the number of full-time equivalent jobs created. Businesses creating less than five jobs would get $1,000, while those who create between 5-10 jobs would get $2,000. Those adding more than 10 jobs would get $2,500.

Those making physical improvements will get up to $10,000 as a matching grant for façade improvements. Permit fee waivers will be provided for new developments and physical improvements.

The City expects to bear a cost of $100,000 for providing the incentives and the grants, not including the reduced revenues from the waived fees and tax reimbursements.

EDA 2012 Annual Report – $297M for 674 Projects

The Fiscal Year 2012 annual report published by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) shows that the agency awarded about $297 million to support 674 economic development and disaster relief funding projects.

EDA FY 2012 annual report

EDA FY 2012 annual report (photo –

Highlights from the EDA’s FY 2012 annual report:-

Construction – Out of the total, $194 million worth of EDA funding went to construction projects. These projects together generated $4.6 billion in private investments and resulted in the creation and retention of 40,000 jobs.

Planning Studies – EDA awarded $29 million for 327 studies to help develop regional planning strategies.

Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – EDA worked with 12 federal agency partners and awarded $9 million under this new program to 13 organizations to leverage local assets for supporting industry clusters and partnerships.

Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – EDA and five other federal agencies awarded $20 million for 10 public-private partnerships supporting local job creation efforts.

Apart from the usual report sent to Congress, EDA’s annual report has also been published this year as a web-based resource with an interactive online map that allows users to examine state-by-state investments.

Texas was the biggest beneficiary of EDA funding in FY 2012 in terms of the number of projects funded, receiving 47 grants that add up to around $21.2 million.

The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Eagle Ford Shale Community Development Program alone got $1 million from the EDA, meant to assist South Texas communities position themselves to take advantage of opportunities created by Eagle Ford Shale.

As per grantee estimates, the 47 EDA grants to Texas will help recipient projects retain or create 6,144 jobs.

Tennessee topped the charts in terms of the number of jobs created, with 24 grants totaling $21 million in EDA funding helping retain or create 6,812 jobs.

California got 25 grants totaling $18 million that will help retain or create 4,090 jobs.

The Los Angeles Kretz Innovation Campus was awarded $2.1 million to be used for installing a solar power photo voltaic canopy, and for other needs such as laboratory equipment and a training and prototyping workshop at the incubator in the campus. This EDA-supported project will help create 171 jobs.

FY 2012 EDA report – Download (pdf) or see the online map.

ICON Aircraft Looking at Vacaville, CA for Manufacturing Facility

Los Angeles, California-based ICON Aircraft has filed a letter of intent with the City of Vacaville, CA for setting up a facility next to Nut Tree Airport for manufacturing its light sport aircraft (LSA).

ICON Aircraft A5 LSA

ICON Aircraft A5 LSA (photo –

ICON was launched in 2005 by Kirk Hawkins after the FAA created a new LSA category in 2004 that had significantly reduced regulatory burdens for both LSA manufacturers and users.

ICON’s introductory LSA model – the long-awaited amphibious ICON A5, has retractable landing gear, uses automotive fuel, can land and take-off on water as well as on runways, and can fly at a maximum speed of 120 mph.

From the cockpit, it looks more like a car for two, and has been designed and priced to make it easier for new people to take up flying in their own plane. Pilots need to log only 20 hours of flight time to get the LSA license, which is half the time needed for other aircraft.

ICON’s A5 has been under development longer than expected, but the company still has a long and loyal list of almost 1,000 customers who have paid deposits and are eagerly waiting to get their own sport aircraft.

Until now, ICON has based its operations entirely in Southern California. Apart from the administrative headquarters in Los Angeles, Icon also has development, testing and manufacturing teams in a facility in Tehachapi, CA.

The proposed move to the existing 137,940-square-foot building at 2141 Beechcraft Road in Vacaville would take them a long way over to Northern California, in between San Francisco and Sacramento.

ICON’s latest outreach to Vacaville officials for support and incentives was preceded by the company raising $60 million in May 2013 as part of its fourth and final equity funding round.

The company said it would use the new funding to complete preparations for production, regulatory compliance and boost R&D for adding new aircraft models.

If they go ahead with the proposal, Vacaville stands to gain millions of these dollars in investments and new sales, property and personal taxes, and up to 500 new general aviation manufacturing and sales jobs. Not to mention spending by ICON’s customers who will stay in the city when they come for buying a plane and getting training.

ICON first started looking at sites for relocation in 2010. Vacaville has been pursuing this project since 2011 in partnership with Nut Tree Airport management and other local organizations including Solano Community College, the Solano Economic Development Corporation and Solano County officials.

The Vacaville City Council will be meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 where it will consider a resolution authorizing city manager Laura C. Kuhn to execute the non-binding letter of intent (pdf file) with ICON Aircraft Inc.

Apart from exemptions of a percentage of sales tax based on job creation and average wage commitments by ICON, the letter of intent also seeks about $250,000 as a loan for the permitting process, to be paid back from future sales associated with the project.

ICON is also asking for renaming of streets in the area and fast-tracking of all the permits required for site improvements and construction.

Solano Community College may enter into a partnership with ICON wherein it provides training for ICON employees under its Aeronautics Program, and may even expand its curriculum to match ICON’s needs.

The letter of intent states that the City and ICON will attempt to come to an agreement within 60 days, and hope to submit an actual agreement for the City Council’s approval on Aug 13, 2013.

Site Selection Rankings for Top Sustainable States and Metros

The latest issue of Site Selection magazine includes their annual rankings for the top sustainable states and metros.

Solar array at state prison in California

Solar array at state prison in California (photo – CaliDGS/

California topped the state rankings, and has all three of its largest metro areas in the aforementioned top 10 list of sustainable metros.

Texas is the only other state which has more than one metro area in the rankings. The Washington, D.C. metro area is listed as the top sustainable metro.

These rankings are based on an index which takes into account the number of LEED-certified buildings, the number of corporate facilities that are involved in the process of producing green products, renewable energy usage and the policy framework being implemented for promoting its use.

The top ten states, in order of their ranking, are – California, Oregon, Washington, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, Iowa, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

The list of the top 10 sustainable metros, in the order of their ranking, is as follows:-

  1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA
  2. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-In-WI
  3. New York-Newark-Edison, NY-NJ-PA
  4. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
  5. Houston-Baytown-Sugarland, TX
  6. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
  7. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
  8. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  10. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA

Among the many trends that Site Selection magazine explores in these rankings, the most interesting one is that the top sustainable territories seem to be moving towards smarter planning coupled with transit-oriented development.

The magazine also listed the top ten most sustainable foreign countries. This list was topped by Canada, where gaining green cachet is important to global companies in the energy industry and is reflected in their site selection process.

The magazine cites the example of Precision Drilling Corp., which moved into a building in Calgary, Alberta that has been awarded LEED Platinum certification. The company’s CEO said that sustainability was one of the factors influencing their decision-making process.

Canada was followed in the top 10 international rankings by Chile, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey, listed in the order of their ranking.

Read more about these sustainability trends and the rankings at

Merced, CA Gets Call Center for Implementing Health Care Reforms

Merced County, California is setting up a regional call center to deal with the implementation of Covered California, which is the Golden State’s new health insurance exchange as required under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Covered California

Covered California (photo –

Starting from Oct 1, 2013, previously uninsured small businesses and individuals will be able to use this state-wide marketplace to enroll in affordable health plans. Coverage under these plans is set to begin on Jan 1, 2014.

Merced was chosen as the call center site for fielding calls and processing cases from nine counties, including Merced itself.

The center will create up to 45 new county jobs offering annual wages of up to $43,000, plus benefits and retirement.

The $5.6 million cost for the call center and the wages for the new county employees is being funded entirely through Medi-Cal, so the county is getting the call center and new jobs at zero cost to itself.

On the other hand, if the call center had gone to one of the other counties, Merced would have been obligated to that county for the cost of the calls, while still having to bear responsibility for the accuracy and on-time disposal of cases.

Since Merced currently has higher accuracy rates and efficiency, having their cases processed by another county would have meant a hike in penalties and sanctions. By securing the call center project in Merced itself, the county managed to eliminate these risks and additional costs.

The Merced County Board of Supervisors approved the County Human Services Agency (HSA) application for the call center and new hires in March, and some of the new positions have already been filled.

The call center will be fully operational by Oct 1, 2013. Because of the tight deadline, HSA decided to locate the center in their existing leased space on 16th St which was already wired into the C-IV network used for eligibility determination and processing across 39 counties in California.

This saved the additional time and cost that would have been required to configure a new site.

There’s also the cost savings associated with moving uninsured citizens into Medi-Cal. The medical care costs of these people are currently being borne by the county.

Merced County estimates there may be up to 39,600 new people eligible for Medi-Cal once the Affordable Care Act is implemented, and anywhere between 9,000 to 29,000 of them may enroll through Covered California.

Los Angeles Kicks Off Nation’s Largest Rooftop Solar FIT Program

Los Angeles, California has launched the largest rooftop solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program in the nation, under which the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will purchase solar power from hundreds of building owners with rooftop solar installations.

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flips on Clean LA Solar FIT project

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flips on Clean LA Solar FIT project (photo – Mayor’s Office)

The LADWP FIT aims to generate 150 MW of renewable and clean solar energy – enough to power more than 43,000 homes and reduce Co2 emissions by 147 metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking 28,300 cars off the road.

This FIT program was initially proposed by the CLEAN LA Solar Coalition and the Los Angeles Business Council.

LADWP ran a 10 MW project FIT program last year as a pilot to determine market pricing and how the program needs to be structured.

LADWP got 26 applications, of which 14 were deemed to be eligible projects that the LADWP could sign a power purchase contract for.

The first FIT project completed under this demonstration program was the rooftop solar installation of Oxnard Plaza Apartments in North Hollywood.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flipped a switch, and the building started sending to the LADWP what will amount to 142,000 kilowatt-hours of solar energy per year.

LADWP is now accepting applications for a second round of 20 MW allocation under the program starting July 8, 2013. A lottery process will select from among eligible project applications submitted in between July 8-12, 2013.

The first 20 MW round was put out earlier this year in February, and received 104 applications from within the City of Los Angeles. Of these, 60 have been selected and LADWP will sign contracts with them this summer.

LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols said this was just the beginning of what they expect to be a long and beneficial public-private partnership. He said Angelenos can expect to see thousands of solar panels on rooftops throughout the city over the next few years.

Los Angeles has already started realizing the economic development benefits of this program. Solar Provider Group, which was responsible for the Oxnard Plaza installation, decided to set up their U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles. As the program develops, the company plans to create jobs for everything from solar installations to project management, finance and business development.

A University of California, Los Angeles study commissioned by the LA Business Council Institute estimated that the Clean LA Solar program would create 4,500 installation, construction, administration, design engineering and maintenance jobs in the first five years.

The UCLA study also said the program would be able to leverage $300 million in federal tax credits for businesses in Los Angeles and generate more than $500 million in private investments.

California Approves Economic Development Reforms Bill

On June 27, 2013, the California State Assembly approved an economic development reform bill (AB-93) which moves $750 million worth of business incentives from California’s Enterprise Zones to statewide incentive programs.

CA Enterprise Zone reform

CA Enterprise Zone reform (photo –

AB-93 was amended and approved by the California State Senate on a 30-9 vote a couple of days ago, so it went straight to the Governor’s desk for his signature after the amended version was passed by the Assembly on a 54-16 vote.

After the bill’s passage, CA Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued a statement in which he said it was a big and bipartisan win for working people and businesses in California. He said AB 93 would create good manufacturing jobs and help grow the economy.

Kish Rajan, director of GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, said that the California economy had been coming back strong during the past year. He said the AB 93 vote adds to that momentum and would put their foot on the accelerator for economic development in California.

The bill had backing from labor groups, while others, such as the League of California Cities, opposed the bill, claiming it would decrease local tax revenues and place additional burdens on struggling communities.

AB 93 moves Enterprise Zone incentives to three new programs, as outlined below:-

The existing sales tax credit for Enterprise Zone businesses is now a statewide sales and use tax (SUT) exemption on manufacturing and bio-tech equipment purchase for manufacturing companies and those engaged in biotech R&D.

A Hiring Credit of 35 percent of wages that fall in between 1.5-3.5 times the minimum wage will be available for five years in specific geographic areas to companies hiring long-time unemployed workers, veterans, ex-offenders and those receiving federal earned income tax credit.

The California Competes Credit, to be administered by GO-Biz, will help the Golden State attract new business activity and retain existing ones by offering tax credits as an incentive based on the number and quality of jobs created.

Read more about the reforms approved under AB 93 in this updated briefing put out by Go-Biz. 

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