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Pennsylvania's push to grow its alternative energy industry and help its universities continued today with the approval of more than $5.2 million in grants.
The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority approved the investments for new energy initiatives, as well as the continuation of the Keystone Innovation Zone program.
DCED Secretary Dennis Yablonsky said the targeted investments are part of the $233 million the authority has invested to attract and keep businesses in the state since 2003.
"Today's announcements reflect Governor Rendell's commitment to the future of the commonwealth's economy," Yablonsky said. "Universities are the largest employers of any industry sector in Pennsylvania, while the renewable and alternative energy sector represents the fastest growing industry in the world. Our goal is to use our resources strategically to ensure these and other emerging industries have the tools to succeed."
The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority approved the following projects:
The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) received $625,000 through the technology development grant program for the development of cluster-focused technology assistance.
The Technology Collaborative received $1.8 million through the technology investment grant program for the continuation of its technology commercialization initiative.
Philadelphia University and the Green Building Alliance received $1.5 million in second year funding through the technology development grant program for the Pennsylvania Green Growth Partnership project.
The University of Pittsburgh received a $125,000 university research grant for research and design projects through its power and energy initiative.
Since 2004, the Keystone Innovation Zone program has enabled public and private stakeholders to work together and invest in their region through industry building, research and development and job creation and retention. Yablonsky said that work will continue with these investments.
"Today's announcements exemplify every stage of the KIZ program; from the initial creation of the zone and its partnerships to full collaboration among educational institutions and emerging businesses."
Nine Keystone Innovation Zone projects were approved for new or additional funding, including:
The Westmoreland County KIZ received $210,000 for its first year of operation. In collaboration with Penn State-New Kensington, Seton Hill University, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Saint Vincent College and Westmoreland County Community College, the zone will draw new and emerging technology companies to southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Fayette/Washington KIZ received $225,000 in funding for its first year of operation. Higher educational institutions in both counties will team with companies and organizations in the region to focus on developing energy, defense and information technology industries.
The Northwest Pennsylvania KIZ received a $250,000 first-year operational grant. The KIZ will bring together several colleges and universities from Crawford, Mercer, Warren and Clarion counties to develop research and development opportunities, as well as create and retain new jobs in the region.
Delaware County KIZ received second-round funding of $187,500 to continue operating. With Villanova and Weidner universities as the primary educational institutions, the zone has already achieved most of its goals in research, business development and job creation and retention.
The University City KIZ received $125,000 for its third-year operations. Matched by $180,000, the new funds will be used to continue creating and retaining jobs in the life sciences industry, as well as to develop educational workshops and materials that further market the zone.
The Southside Bethlehem KIZ received a fourth allocation of $62,500 for the operation of its zone, which was one of the first in the commonwealth. The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation is the KIZ coordinator and it will continue to focus on developing the life sciences, opto/micro-electronics, information technology and nanotechnology industries within the region through new company formation, R&D, and job creation and retention.
The Lackawanna County KIZ and the Luzerne County KIZ both received fourth-year operating funds of $62,500. The Great Valley Technology Institute will continue to be the zone coordinator for both KIZs, working with 13 local universities and emerging companies to develop key industry clusters in the region, including life sciences, nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing, information technology and new media.
The Greater Oakland KIZ received $62,500 in funding for its fourth year of operations. With a focus on life sciences, specialty chemicals, horizon technologies and information technology, the zone will continue to collaborate with stakeholders to create and retain jobs; develop new research; and increase university and technology-based impact within the region.
The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority is dedicated to fostering technological innovation, strengthening the commonwealth's economy, and creating and retaining good-paying jobs that require advanced skills. It also provides funding for a host of technology initiatives and it supports four Ben Franklin Technology Partners throughout Pennsylvania that identify the most promising ventures and provide them with technical assistance and capital.
A cornerstone of Governor Rendell's economic stimulus package, the KIZ program was created to generate high-wage, high-skilled jobs and strengthen Pennsylvania's overall economy. A total of 29 KIZs have been established throughout the commonwealth.
For additional information on any of the stimulus package programs, visit http://www.newpa.com/ or call 1-866-466-3972.
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