RIT’s efforts to boost economic development recognized by Obama Administration

Commerce Department presents university with national award, $500,000 grant

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A. Sue Weisler

Barry Johnson, far left, senior adviser and director of strategic initiatives at the Economic Development Administration, presents Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, and RIT President Bill Destler with the 2009 EDA Excellence in Economic Development Award on Nov. 9 for university-led economic development.

Rochester Institute of Technology has been honored with the 2009 EDA Excellence in Economic Development Award in the category of Excellence in University-Led Strategies. The award, presented by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, recognizes RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies and its commitment to advancing regional competitiveness and helping grow the local economy.

The award was presented to the center by Barry Johnson, senior adviser and director of strategic initiatives at the Economic Development Administration, during a Monday ceremony on campus.

“I am pleased to present the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies with the 2009 EDA Excellence in Economic Development Award for University-led Economic Development,” says Johnson. “Its programs work to advance regional competitiveness by strengthening the manufacturing sector through applied technology and enhanced training.”

Johnson also presented the center with a $500,000 grant to help small manufacturers in 28 counties of upstate New York become more globally competitive by creating a Knowledge Clearinghouse to disseminate information on expanding market viability, and an Innovation Test Bed to assist with technology commercialization and new manufacturing processes.

“This knowledge and innovation support will enable the region’s smaller manufacturers to expand their markets outside the Genesee-Finger Lakes region and upstate New York, resulting in new revenues and jobs,” Johnson notes.

“We are extremely honored to receive this recognition from the Economic Development Administration,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “For 15 years, the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies has worked to strengthen technology implementation and economic development in a wide range of industry sectors. This award further illustrates the impact those efforts have had on the businesses and overall economy of New York state, and the new funding will enable us to continue this important work.”

“I applaud the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies on receiving this important recognition for the pivotal contributions this center makes to strengthening Rochester’s continued economic development,” says U.S. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. “I have been pleased to partner with the center on a variety of job-creating initiatives from remanufacturing projects with the Defense Department to creating a fuel cell development competency in Rochester. It plays a critical role in helping leverage our region’s unique assets and resources to propel us to the leading edge of emerging industries. The center and RIT are well deserving of this honor.”

“I’m proud to help announce these funds designed to create jobs and improve our local economy,” adds Congressman Eric Massa. “This grant will make our community more competitive in the global marketplace and spur economic development right here. RIT is leading the way for job creation in Upstate New York and I am proud to support this program.”

Nominations for the Excellence in Economic Development Awards are made annually in various categories and are evaluated by a selection panel appointed by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

The economic Development Administration is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster economic growth and job creation. Its mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy.