Source: Teknovation.biz | Tom Ballard | August 10, 2020

The University of Tennessee’s University Center (UTUC) program has received $300,000 in additional funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) under the “CARES Act” Recovery Assistance initiative. The grant is one of many that EDA has announced across the country and the Volunteer State. The amount of funding varies.

In the case of the UTUC that is operated by the Center for Industrial Services (CIS), there are three priority areas where the funding will be allocated, according to Beth Phillips, UT CIS Director of Economic Development. Those areas involve:

  • Connecting economically distressed and at-risk communities to UT system-wide resources to help;
  • Working with local, regional and state economic development organizations throughout Tennessee to connect business and industry to university resources to help them alleviate impacts from the pandemic, improve resiliency and strengthen supply chains; and
  • Expanding and adapting economic development training offerings to address topics relevant to the economic impacts of the pandemic and improve accessibility by developing an online platform to deliver courses.

In the first category, Phillips said the assistance could include conducting research and feasibility studies, integrating resiliency into economic development plans, providing support to business and industry to expand market opportunities and enhance competitiveness, and providing design assistance for community enhancement projects and other types of university-based support.

UT CIS also operates several specialized programs that can help local economic development organizations better support their businesses. They are the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), OSHA Training Institute, and the “Made in Tennessee” program.

Finally, Phillips said the additional funding will allow for the development of new content for the “Tennessee Certified Economic Development” program along with the platform to deliver it virtually as has become so popular these days.