seCTer News & Updates

10/13/2016

News from the Southeastern CT Enterprise Region. Read about the initiatives and investments aimed to prepare SECT's workforce and spark innovation and entrepreneurship in the New Economy.

 

GROTON and NEW LONDON COLLABORATE ON THE THAMS RIVER INNOVATION PLACE INITIATIVE

The communities of Groton and New London, sitting on opposite banks where the mouth of the Thames River opens into Long Island Sound, have been home to innovation since before the Revolutionary War. From whaling and shipbuilding to national defense and biopharmaceuticals, we have been on the cutting edge of technology.

Now there is an opportunity for Groton and New London to work together to be officially designated as one of the Innovation Places in the State of Connecticut. We are identifying our place as the mouth of the Thames River. The state has created this new program in which $4.9M per year will be allocated over the next 5 years with a limited number of Innovation Places. This grant money would help our community make investments to attract and retain talent which in turn will create new businesses and jobs for all skill levels.

Spark Makerspace and CURE Innovation Commons are co-leading the local effort. Both entities support business incubation and have pre-existing relationships with CT Next, the administrator of this program. The rest of the team includes the municipalities within Groton and New London as well as many anchor institutions and key local and regional organizations.

The process happens in two parts. First, we apply for a smaller grant to help develop a master plan for innovation this winter, then we will submit the plan to apply for Innovation Place status in April 2017. Awards will be made in June for a minimum of $250,000 per year for 5 years!

The aspirations of the Thames River Innovation Place Planning Team are not just to design and steward a process that improves our economy and quality of life but to do so in a way that maintains and appreciates our authentic character and benefits all residents. The intent of our process is to document and broadcast the Story of Place – a planning process lead by the consulting firm Regenesis; define and prioritize specific actions and design deliverables that will deepen our understanding of what is core to our place, and determine synergies that allow for new sustainable value generation. The written master plan will be developed internally by a segment of the Thames River Innovation Place Planning Team, supported by Regenesis and will become the foundation for the next step on our path towards becoming an innovation place which will result in economic opportunities that are consciously rooted in a strategy of appreciative inquiry.

The core value of the Story of Place process is that through broad engagement it both identifies high impact projects AND builds broad enthusiasm, thus leveraging the full talent of our community to participate in the game of economic development and catalyze these projects into action -effectively bridging the gap between design and implementation. We see in this work an opportunity to strategically broadcast the story of how we are engaging this process as a live “case study” demonstration of an alternative approach to traditional economic development that eludes the downsides of gentrification.

 

THE CREATIVE ECONOMY EXCHANGE (CCX) TO BE HOSTED BY THE SOUTHEASTERN CT CULTURAL COALITION AND THE CITY OF NEW LONDON IN 2017

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has selected the Southeastern CT Cultural Coalition and New London as the host organization and host city for the 2017 Creative Economy Exchange (CCX) set to take place June 8-9, 2017. The CCX is a peer-to-peer exchange of the strategies used in successful creative economy initiatives around New England.

CCX professional development workshops are for New England leaders who are engaged in creative economy and creative placemaking projects that leverage their local creative sector for the revitalization and growth of their broader community. For more information, http://www.nefa.org.

 

SECTER’S 2015 DESIGNEE AS OUR CELEBRATE CT REGIONAL WINNER HAS REALLY TAKEN FLIGHT!

Working together with EWIB, SeCTer is supporting The Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (MPI) through a hugely successful launch, attracting more than 1700 applicants in the first eight months. The Pipeline Initiative coordinates community stakeholders (employers, academia, state/regional agencies) to deliver customized training programs through our CT Community College and Voc-Tech school system. The initiative aligns the skills of the region’s workforce to the hiring needs as articulated by regional manufacturing employers participating in curriculum development. Due to its innovation, the Initiative attracted a $6 million investment from the U.S. Department of Labor to train 450 participants over the next three years. The Initiative has achieved a 92% participant placement rate in its initial five classes under this grant. The Initiative has been so successfulthat it has spawned a Pipeline Initiative in the healthcare sector, which was then funded by a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to train participants for careers in that sector over the next five years.

 

THE NORWICH COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, (NCDC) IS NEARLY READY TO OPEN THEIR NEW FOUNDRY66 COWORK SPACE

Located in the former Norwich Bulletin office building, Foundry66 (F66) has had its share of schedule setbacks for opening due to complications of retrofitting an old building. (Wouldn’t it be great if we could just build fresh new space for $25/ft!) So, we simply deal with it.

Desks and chairs are in and polished and on October 11th, the HVAC equipment should be insufficiently completed to take the morning chill out of the October air, and the Norwich Public Utilities-powered broadband fiber WI-FI should be operational so the first members can begin operations of their own businesses from inside F66! The first phase of the new downtown CoWork space offers 7 private offices, 14 dedicated desks and open seating for 30 members plus meeting rooms, phone booth areas, and other amenities. To date, all the private offices and 2 of the dedicated desks are spoken for with many expressing interest in access to the open seating work areas once they have access. Abundant free parking and staffed assistance makes the future look great for F66.

F66 is hosting several open houses during the month of October, or a free day pass, contact Bob Mills at (860) 514-4278 or Miria Toth at (860) 984-5523.


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