The Economic Development Administration recently announced the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, an initiative that will support “innovation-fueled job creation” through $33 million in funding. Along with the EDA, 15 other agencies are involved — the Department of Transportation, the Employment and Training Administration, Small Business Administration, and Department of Energy, to a name a few.
Approximately 20 regional innovation clusters across the US will be selected to receive support. The first step in the process will come sometime this month when a competitive solicitation is expected to be announced.
According to the Federal Register:
Applicants will be asked to discuss several components of their cluster. They will be evaluated against criteria that include: evidence of a high-growth cluster; the cluster’s needs and opportunities; a proposed project concept and scope of work; and the projected impact and measurable outcomes. Outcomes might include how Federal funds will be used to:
• Achieve sustainable economic growth in the region;
• Augment business formation, especially small businesses, and leverage existing businesses and manufacturing assets;
• Advance commercialization of Federal and private research and increase exports;
• Develop a skilled workforce through outreach, training, and the creation of career pathways; and
• Integrate historically underserved businesses and communities into the economic activities of the cluster.
EMSI Consulting can offer assistance with custom analysis in both the competitive grant process and project phase. This includes using the most recent labor market data to make the case for high-growth clusters, as well as analyzing the future employment and skill needs of those clusters.
In addition to dozens of other projects, we have experience helping regions implement Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grants and Regional Innovation Grants. Here are three examples with case study links:
- Work with Maher & Maher in helping Newton, Iowa, which received the first-ever RIG after it lost a huge part of its manufacturing presence;
- A skills-based workforce analysis for the Regional Workforce Alliance, which received a WIRED grant from the ETA;
- Analysis of four regional industry clusters for the Regional Workforce Innovation Team (RWIT), which needed help crafting an economic and workforce development plan for 16 Eastern Idaho counties after securing a RIG.
Note: EMSI is hosting a webinar on May 23 at 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific) to discuss the $33 million EDA grant opportunity and how EMSI can help. EMSI partner Linda Fowler of Regionerate will also take part. Email Josh Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up.
EMSI Consulting delivers timely, accurate, and effective reports for local, regional, and state decision-makers. Services include robust impact studies; comprehensive workforce analyses and skill gap assessment; education gap analyses; and education master plan assistance. Contact Hamilton Galloway (email@example.com or 208.883.3500) for more information.