Maricopa County IDA approves $779K in community grants


0629Ns News (Maricopa County)

The Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority has approved a series of grants totaling $779K to help local community groups move their mission forward.

Local First Arizona is a non-profit organization working to strengthen communities and local economies through growing, supporting, and celebrating locally owned businesses.

The IDA approved the $144,000 grant to expand the Fuerza Local Accelerator program, a Spanish language accelerator program that small, under-served business owners use to be more competitive, while helping them establish credit that will allow them to borrow capital at fair market rates to grow their businesses. The grant will support 72 businesses in Mesa, Avondale, and Maryvale, according to a press release.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” stated Clint Hickman, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and District 4 Supervisor, in the release. “When we support them, we ensure that our community attracts even more entrepreneurs and businesses to set up shop in Maricopa County.”

First Place is a Phoenix-based group that will be one of the nation’s first residential projects for adults living with autism. The IDA approved the $335,000 grant to be applied to the First Place Leadership Institute, whose goal is to develop a field of leaders to advance promising and best practices that support adults with autism through education, training, and research.

“First Place is a top notch program critical to the growing population of adults with autism,” stated Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri, District 2, in the release. “They provide a supportive community for individuals promoting life skills and transitions when family members are no longer able to care for their loved ones.”

Year Up provides urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.

The IDA approved $300,000 to support the delivery of a one-year program to 320 Opportunity Youth. This general operating support will allow us to position young adults who are unemployed or underemployed, with no degree beyond a diploma or GED, to compete for jobs in growing industries that offer family-sustaining wages.

“I have learned that the number one driver for economic development is talent,” stated Victor Vidales, IDA board president stated in the release. “It’s a great day when we can provide capital to support organizations like Year Up, who help urban young adults with the skills, education and experiences they need to reach their full potential, become employable and ultimately achieve a better standard of living and way of life. That’s our mission!”

The Maricopa IDA’s mission is to create and maintain jobs within the county, and assist residents of the county to achieve a better standard of living and way of life. From May 1975, the IDA has helped spur economic development and increased the availability of affordable housing.

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