Two projects selected to compete for Federal regional economic development grants
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) today announced that two regional partnership projects have been selected to compete nationally for Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) funds. WIRED grants are provided by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to foster economic transformation by developing comprehensive regional approaches to education and workforce and economic development.
"These two proposals represent communities and partners working together to overcome economic development challenges in the Miami Valley and northeast Ohio areas," ODJFS Assistant Director Terry Thomas said. "The federal WIRED funds will assist these areas to invest in the jobs of the future, especially in areas of energy production, innovation and entrepreneurship."
According to DOL guidelines, each state may submit up to two applications to compete nationally for funding from $65 million available for WIRED projects. Individual grant awards are expected to total up to $5 million over the course of three years.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services received nine proposals for consideration. Proposals were evaluated on three essential components of a competitive regional economy: investment, infrastructure and talent development.
The selected projects propose regional approaches to coordinate workforce and economic development in the Miami Valley and northeastern Ohio. The two projects selected to compete nationally for the WIRED funds are:
"I-70/75 at the Crossroads," includes 12 counties centered around Dayton and Springfield. The initiative targets four growth and globally competitive industries: aerospace research and development, health care, information technology, and advanced materials and manufacturing. It will use regional economic and occupational data to coordinate workforce and economic development programs and training as well as with employer-based specialized educational pilot.
"Focusing on Unique Transformations Using Resources Effectively (FUTURE)," encompasses 16 northeast Ohio counties in the Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Lorain, Mansfield and Youngstown metro areas. The initiative places emphasis on advanced manufacturing, bio-med, bio-tech, and alternative fuel and renewable energy development. The initiative would energize and support the region's entrepreneurial economy, revamping current workforce development efforts to meet the needs of targeted industries and creating educational pathways leading to high wage/high skill careers.