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Federal grants for energy, flexible electronics, could lead to more than 600 jobs in northeast Ohio

An economic development collaboration in northeast Ohio hopes that more than $2 million in federal grants will help it create more than 600 jobs in northeast Ohio during the next four years.

NorTech, along with Lorain County Community College, JumpStart and MAGNET will work together as one of 20 high growth industry clusters selected by the Obama administration’s Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

The Ohio collaboration is intended to accelerate the speed to market for near-production or pilot-production prototypes in the advanced energy and flexible electronics industries. Flexible electronics includes functional films and inks, liquid crystal devices and displays, printed batteries and sensors, OLED lighting and organic photovoltaics.

Rebecca Bagley, President and CEO of NorTech – a regional nonprofit technology-based economic development organization that serves 21 counties in northeast Ohio – says the project will benefit not only her region, but the nation.

“Our national economy is made up of the interconnection of regions across the country,” she says. “This really helps accelerate some important industry areas in northeast Ohio, which then ultimately accelerates growth of the nation.”

The number of northeast Ohio companies in the cluster are growing, with 46 organizations counted within advanced energy and 28 in flexible electronics, says Karen Allport, NorTech’s VP of strategic outreach.

“This represents members of the cluster – that is, companies with which NorTech has a close relationship and are actively engaged in building the clusters in Northeast Ohio. There are many more organizations in these industries but we do not define them as members of the cluster, yet. Our job is to attract them to become a member of the cluster.”

The Ohio partnership, which was selected from among 125 applicants nationally, expects to add 630 jobs, more than $40 million in annual payroll and $38 million in capital attracted during the next four years, Allport says.

Funding to support the Ohio initiative comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and the Small Business Administration.

Sources: Rebecca Bagley and Karen Allport, NorTech
Writer: Gene Monteith
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