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Tech-based ED RoundUp

March 21, 2003

Tucson gains Community Investment Business Center, New Tech Park building

The Tucson Citizen reports the second incarnation of the Tucson Technology Incubator, which closed in January, has opened as the Community Investment Business Center. The new center, under the auspices of the Community Investment Corp. and funded partially by the Pima County Industrial Development  Authority, offers business assistance with the aid of five University of Arizona interns and limited office space for client companies, according to the article.

Tucson-area tech companies in need of more space can take advantage of the new 72,000-square-foot building opened at the University of Arizona Science & Technology Park in February. The park, named as the Association of University Research Park's Outstanding Research Park of 2001, is already home to 30 companies and organizations with more than 6,000 employees working in technology fields including optics, life sciences, aerospace and advanced materials.

Florida's Orange County Commission commits $2.2 million for TBED initiatives

With an eye toward diversifying the Orlando-area economy, the Orange County Commissioners are investing $2.177 million mostly to support several technology-based economic development initiatives. Titled "Economic Stimulus Package 2.0," the county's funding will be allotted across 30 different projects, the majority of spending going to seven projects connected to the University of Central Florida (UCF), including: a high-speed Internet and video conference system for the UCF technology incubator ($100,000), construction of a biotech research greenhouse at UCF ($150,000), and a new Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida ($700,000). Another recipient is an O-Force project supporting workforce development and training programs in information technology at area high schools ($125,000). A March 12 article in the Orlando Sentinel points out "the $2.2 million stimulus package amounts to a fraction of the amount the country spends to promote tourism. This year, for instance, the county will spend $300 million to expand and operate the Orange County Convention Center."

Fort Wayne Mayor Commits Funds to TBED

Mayor Graham Richard announced this week that the City of Fort Wayne has committed $1 million to the Northeast Indiana Corporate Council’s $20 million economic development fundraising effort. The City is pledging $1 million to the Corporate Council’s job creation fund over a two-year period. The money will come from County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds and City Utilities.

The City of Fort Wayne has already has pledged $1.5 million to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center’s Biomedical Research Center, $175,000 for operating funds for the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, and more than $1 million in annual allocations for the Economic Development Alliance and other groups.

In making a $1 million commitment to the Corporate Council, Mayor Richard also is challenging Fort Wayne City Council members to support the $20 million campaign by pledging $1 million of their CEDIT allocation to the Corporate Council’s job creation fund.

Vermont Offsets 70% of IT Training Costs with DOL Grant

A new grant and partnership, the Vermont High Skills Training Project, will cover 70 percent of Vermont businesses' costs for securing information technology certification and training for their employees. Offered online to facilitate distance learning, the collaborative effort involves the Vermont Information Technology Center, the Vermont Human Resources Investment Council, the Vermont Department of Employment and Training, and Champlain College. A March 11 article in the Burlington Free Press suggests up to 50 people are expected to be trained and certified through the program, which takes approximately 18-24 months to complete. Funding for the $512,000 initiative came from a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

New Website Will Help Investors Utilize New Markets Tax Credits

As investors prepare to make investments that qualify for New Markets Tax Credits, New Markets Advisors, a group of six community development finance organizations, has launched a new online resource dedicated to explaining why these investments make smart business sense. A federal program created in December 2000 through the U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund, the New Market Tax Credits are designed to increase investment opportunities and stimulate business development in America's economically underserved markets. More information on the credits, investment opportunities and additional resources are available at: http://www.newmarketsadvisors.org

Manufacturing Tech Center In Works for Douglas, WY

The Converse Area New Development Organization (CANDO), a Wyoming nonprofit corporation dedicated to encouraging new and existing business growth, with the least amount of disturbance to the area's quality of life, received a $110,000 School-to-Careers grant from the state to establish a manufacturing technology training center. According to the Douglas Budget, the center will use the grant to acquire two manufacturing software training programs for use by high school students and adults. The course is to provide hands-on experience through actual product design and manufacturing.