The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and Arizona State University (ASU) this week were awarded a $170,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The initiative, called the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) seeks to accelerate manufacturing sectors and job creation in cities across the country.
The funds will be used to develop a plan to implement an Innovation and Commercialization Center for Advanced Manufacturing (ICCAM) in Greater Phoenix that advances the region’s manufacturing sector and improves its competitiveness for domestic and foreign investments, advances research commercialization and prepares workers for advanced manufacturing jobs. The ICCAM will focus on new growth opportunities, like advanced sensor and control technologies, and applications that leverage historic regional strengths like aerospace, semiconductor, electronics, precision and control technologies.
“This grant is crucial to the ICCAM’s success as we seek to support and grow high-tech manufacturing technologies and their respective supply chains by providing access to applied research, product development and design services, as well as access to global markets,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “Creating a strategic plan to develop these technologies is important for retaining, upgrading and growing the region’s key industry clusters.”
“This award is further recognition of the significant opportunities for growth in the manufacturing sector in our region and our state” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, Senior Vice President for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “ASU is committed to ensuring the continued expansion of manufacturing in Arizona and has implemented several programs and initiatives, with community partners and organizations such as GPEC, which will encourage startup and established manufacturing, ensure students become more involved in manufacturing and spur the overall growth of this sector as a driver of Arizona’s economy.”
Together, GPEC and ASU will assemble a project team to implement the project in two phases over a one-year period. Phase I will focus on finalizing the ICCAM’s technical parameters, refining its programs and services and developing performance metrics. Phase II will center on developing implementation strategies, identifying investment sources, building coalitions and finalizing a full implementation plan through the program’s launch.
Pending support from Congress, the ICCAM project will be eligible to compete for future large scale IMCP grants that are 50 to 100 times the size of the implementation strategy grants. This would allow the region to execute on its proposed strategy for advancing manufacturing in Phoenix and beyond.