USA, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Awarded $100,000 Grant

Posted on October 21, 2014
Jeb Schrenk

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded $100,000 to the University of South Alabama and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce to implement goals established in the region’s application to become a Manufacturing Community.

The grant, from the Economic Development Administration, was awarded following an application by USA and the Chamber and will be matched by funding and in-kind services from the University, the Chamber, the City of Mobile and the Mobile County Commission.

“This award, just as the Manufacturing Community designation, is an endorsement of the focus, strength and unity our area has brought to workforce development as we add jobs and prepare for further growth,” said Lynne Chronister, USA vice president for research and economic development. “Jobs, economic development, education and research are inherently linked and are at the core of the University of South Alabama’s connection to all who live and work here.”

“A skilled workforce is the foundation of what our industries need to continue to grow, ultimately securing the health of the local economy,” said Bill Sisson, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber.

Chronister said the grant money will be used to hire a Manufacturing Community coordinator and enhance the Gulf Coast’s pipeline for workforce development, promote the region’s manufacturing capacity and build a culture of innovation within Mobile and across Southwest Alabama. Ramona Hill, chief executive officer of Workshops, Etc!, has been selected as the Manufacturing Community coordinator following a request for proposals.

Southwest Alabama was one of 12 communities to be named a Manufacturing Community earlier this year. The program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.

Along with the University and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, local agencies participating in the initiative include: Mobile County, City of Mobile, Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, Mobile Works, AIDT Maritime Training Center, Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium, Bishop State Community College, Alabama Technology Network and Alabama State Port Authority.

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