LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today told Grand Rapids area companies and researchers that the $2 billion in public and private investment spurred by the 21st Century Jobs Fund will help them create jobs, market new products, and diversify the area’s economy. Joined by Grand Valley State University President Mark Murray and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) officials, Granholm opened the meeting to help businesses, researchers, and product developers understand the new 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative and the funding/application process.
“The 21st Century Jobs Fund will be a tremendous asset to West Michigan, which is already home to much of the state’s cutting edge research in life sciences,” said Granholm. “This program will provide the incentive to expand that research and create thousands of new jobs in growing high-tech industries.”
The fund, part of Granholm’s Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow plan to grow Michigan’s economy, will encourage job growth by investing in new technology development with a high-potential for job growth in the future. Today’s session provided attendees details on the program’s request for proposal process, due dates, peer review process, eligibility requirements, funding categories, evaluation criteria and other meaningful information.
Signed into law by Governor Granholm last November, the 21st Century Jobs Fund will allocate nearly $400 million of the state’s tobacco settlement revenue in 2006-07 to support commercialization, capital investment and commercial lending efforts in the areas of life sciences, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, and homeland security and defense.
The newly appointed Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization Board (SEIC) will be responsible for administering grants and loans made to support competitive-edge technology investments in the targeted sectors.
Based on the successful model of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor and Technology Tri-Corridor Initiatives, the SEIC will make awards based on an independent, peer-review process.
Only proposals that meet the program’s strict criteria and are judged meritorious by the independent reviewers will receive funding.
“It is vital for West Michigan entrepreneurs and researchers to understand the new opportunities available through the 21st Century Jobs Fund,” MEDC President and CEO James Epolito said. “They are the ones who are going to be vital as we work to transform Michigan’s economy.”
The MEDC will assist in administering the 21st Century Jobs Fund research and commercialization program. Request for proposals are expected to be issued later this month, with the first round of awards expected to be announced in June.
Information sessions have already been held in Traverse City, Troy, Mt. Pleasant, and Battle Creek. Additional meetings are planned for Kalamazoo, Flint, Saginaw, Detroit, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Houghton.
More information and exact meeting locations can be found on the MEDC Web site at www.michigan.org/21stcenturytour.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on MEDC initiatives and programs, visit the Website at www.michigan.org.