A regional collaboration including the University of Arizona and Pima County will develop a strategic plan for manufacturing in Southern Arizona and New Mexico with the help of a half-million-dollar federal grant.
The collaboration, Innovation Frontier Southwest, was awarded a $457,000 grant last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, and is part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, an initiative to accelerate U.S. manufacturing.
The grant is designed as a series of targeted studies that will allow the border region to determine current assets and deficits in infrastructure, workforce, research and policy.
Innovation Frontier will use the data to address and develop a strategic plan.
The project was developed by Innovation Frontier, government, academia and industry, and will work to build a regional strategy for manufacturing, making use of the region’s strength in border technology, the grant partners said.
Innovation Frontier Southwest is a collaboration of Tech Parks Arizona, the University of Arizona’s technology-parks arm; Pima County; the Arizona Commerce Authority; the city of Tucson; the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp.; the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership; New Mexico State University Engineering/New Mexico Resource Network; and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc.
The grant is key to the next round of funding expected later this year, and which will designate stand-out manufacturing areas and give them an advantage in securing grants and investments through U.S. programs and agencies.