Funds will support development of ‘KC Regional Jobs Accelerator’ to spur job creation and economic growth
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a national news conference on Sept. 22, the Obama Administration announced the winning projects of the $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a multi-agency competition to support the advancement of high-growth industry clusters across America’s regions through public-private partnerships. Among the winners of the highly competitive challenge is the Greater Kansas City region’s project proposal, led by the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Innovation Center/KC SourceLink, Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and the Full Employment Council (FEC).
As one of only 20 winning projects selected out of 125 applicants, the Kansas City region will receive $1,891,338 for its project, the Kansas City Regional Jobs Accelerator, to increase employment opportunities at the intersection of two industry clusters — advanced manufacturing and information technology (IT).
“The UMKC Innovation Center is a key partner in this regional project, and will lead the work to support small business development,” said Maria Meyers, Executive Director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “Winning this award demonstrates that the Kansas City region is taking a leadership role in using innovation to create new jobs. We look forward to partnering with the community to build stronger support for young IT and manufacturing businesses in the region.”
Funding for the winning projects is being provided through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The funds will allow the region to develop the KC Jobs Accelerator program, which will build on current collaborations to strengthen the region’s competitive advantage and global competitiveness; reduce the need for foreign workers using H1B visas; make Kansas City known as a hub for innovation by creating opportunities for commercialization of new products and services from university and industry research; and provide business acceleration services to small and mid-sized businesses to grow through supply chain connections, market intelligence, and technical services.
The announcement of the funding comes at an opportune moment as the region begins its work to identify creative uses of the Google ultra-high-speed fiber Internet infrastructure and how best to market the KC metro’s high-speed fiber connectivity in recruiting business, industry and institutional interests to the area. Participants in both projects will work to ensure that each collaborates and builds on the other.
In addition, the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) will support the project by assisting in promoting area manufacturers as suppliers for new businesses locating in the region. The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City will assist in strengthening the connection between secondary education and advanced manufacturing and information technology careers, and major employers have committed to participate in this regional project.
Kansas City Smartport will assist the project in helping businesses establish export operations. The Mid-America Manufacturing Technology Center (MAMTC) will support introducing and strengthening technology processes in the region’s manufacturing companies to help those businesses grow and better meet changing market requirements.
About the UMKC Innovation Center
From whiteboard to boardroom, the UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country. With a suite of high-impact programs, the center helps emerging and existing business owners hone their business basics, evaluate commercialization opportunities, and connect with the right resources at the right time. Innovation Center programs include the Small Business & Technology Development Center, U.S.SourceLink, KCSourceLink, KCArtistLink, KCVetLink and MOSourceLink.
About the University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit www.umkc.edu. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.