Innovators Sought to Bridge Digital Divide for Phoenix Schools in Real Lifehttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1608Community and Economic Development11/5/2020 6:15:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1608/Newsroom_CED_0092.jpgInnovators Sought to Bridge Digital Divide for Phoenix Schools in Real Life<div class="ExternalClass75D1803A1DFF45EF97FEB1CEF0F6C993"><html> <p>Mobile technology companies interested in bridging the digital divide in central Phoenix, Arizona, are being sought to design a private intranet connecting the city's most vulnerable students to their classrooms with high-speed broadband connections. A request for proposal -- due November 24 -- is on the street right now.<br></p> <p> <em>By Eric Jay Toll for the PHXNewsroom</em> <br> </p> <p>It’s an afternoon scene, two students are sitting side-by-side on the sidewalk of a fast-food restaurant parking lot pounding away at their homework on laptops. </p><p>“No student should have to do this. This isn’t right,” said Christine Mackay, director, Phoenix Community and Economic Development. “We knew that we had a problem with the digital divide in Phoenix that needed to be solved, but how to do so. Then Phoenix College called.”</p><p>In a city becoming one of the innovation hotbeds for technology companies, a break-the-mold request for proposals is on the street to bridge the digital divide today. A technology company or collaborative considering itself nimble, innovative, and entrepreneurial will deliver the future to digitally underserved Phoenix students and create the foundation for the workforce of the future.</p><p>They’ll have to work rapidly to be considered. The proposal is due to Phoenix Union High School District on November 24.</p><p>“We needed to bring everyone together to collaborate on a solution,” said Larry Johnson, Ph.D., president, Phoenix College. “When the pandemic hit, it placed a burden on our most vulnerable students. Many of these students did not have internet access outside of school.” </p><p>The solution brings broadband direct-to-school intranet access to those vulnerable students’ homes instead of hotspot access points—whether it be a library parking lot or the curb at a fast-food joint.</p><p>“The beauty of this is that we are better finding solutions together,” said Johnson. “We wanted to increase opportunities for our most vulnerable students. (Bridging the digital divide) is a clarion call for social justice that provides equality of (information) access.”</p><p>It is a challenge for students in some areas of Phoenix to find internet access, let alone connect with adequate speed and bandwidth to complete homework. This digital divide holds back young students who need that access the most. The program is a step to close the gap between those vulnerable students without access to computers or broadband internet and those that do. </p><p>Phoenix distributed 800 tablets and hotspots to students in public housing earlier this year to attend virtual classrooms, but this was a temporary solution to get connected at home.</p><p>“The digital divide has always been a problem, and I’ve wanted to find a solution. Then Covid-19 hit, and what was a theoretical problem became a real-life imperative. Kids couldn’t get to school, and we had to do something,” said Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Phoenix District 4. “With the time and resources at hand, right now was the time to solve the problem. We filled every seat at the table with people dedicated to solutions.”</p><p>Johnson added, “We’re closing the digital divide for the students who need it most.”</p><p>The RFP wants the successful proposer to take the working micro proof of concept (POC) and scaleup to provide secured home-to-classroom intranet connections. Public internet access is not part of the plan, so that traditional broadband access remains with commercial internet service providers. According to Pastor, some ISPs offer low-cost internet access to income-challenged families, but it isn’t a complete solution.</p><p>“A more direct connection is needed for virtual classes,” she said. “With these families disproportionally hit by furloughs, layoffs and closures, even the low cost can be a hardship. We had to do something for home access, not outlying hot spots.”</p><p>The challenge combined solution-generating discussions involving the city, Phoenix College, Phoenix Union High School District and all the elementary schools feeding PUHSD campuses. Some temporary relief came to be when the school districts started putting hotspots on buses and moving through blacked-out neighborhoods. </p><p>The city of Phoenix helped by delivering public Wi-Fi coverage at nearly 50 libraries and senior and recreation centers. The city sites give students a safe and secure place to connect to the internet for school, but they still can’t work at home. The collaboration upped the ante: bring that secure school-only access directly into homes.</p><p>“This is an opportunity for a company that thinks outside the box and is flexible in its approach to finding next-generation solutions,” said Mackay. “I know the turn-around time is tight on this RFP, but for innovators, it’s a chance to refine and scale a solution that opens broad opportunities in Phoenix or anywhere.”</p><p>“Our technology team at Phoenix College has been driving around in golf carts testing (the micro POC) signal strength. The concept is working. We need help scaling up,” Johnson said. “This is a chance for students to learn and to have experience for a higher-than-poverty wage job.”</p><p>Johnson said that Phoenix College is turning the program into a learning opportunity by connecting it with a micro-credential, certifying students with the education and experience to install the public-access software and hardware bringing education into communities everywhere.</p><p>The successful proposer will analyze the micro POC and test results and redeploy the same or design a more successful solution to scale up the POC testing to a quarter section—one square quarter-mile—in a Phoenix school district. </p><p>“This is about jobs,” said Pastor. “About jobs and the future workforce that Phoenix companies tell us that they need.”</p><p>Another goal of the PUHSD RFP is to build out a full test covering four square miles in two elementary school districts using the same protocol and setup as the quarter-mile test working. </p><p>“Closing the digital divide is not a one-time project; it’s readying a system to be scaled up,” Johnson said. </p><p>Bringing a solution to reality with multiple public partners usually brings visions of progress blocked by silos, floundering in red tape and stopped by barriers.</p><p>“Not so with this group,” said Pastor. “The synergy of a group committed to finding solutions was so strong; we just knew we were going to find a solution. We are solving a real challenge for our students.”</p><p>“The collaboration of all parties has a collective impact from this program,” said Johnson. “We’ve come up with a plan that has long-term impacts on their lives.”</p><p>“I’m a teacher at heart. Solving problems is what we do,” Pastor added. “Our collective energy meant that we kept pushing this forward. We kept moving it forward with all sharing a single vision of staying within the boundaries of what we could afford.”</p><p>The proposals for “Network of the Future for a Workforce of the Future – Bridging the Digital Divide,” Phoenix Union High School RFP #9-1120, are due by 2:00 p.m., Mountain Standard Time, Tuesday, November 24. Copies of the RFP can be downloaded from <a href="https://AZPurchasing.org" target="_blank">AZPurchasing.org</a>. For more information, only contact Lila McCleery, director, Purchasing, Supply and Property, Phoenix Union High School District. <a href="mailto:McCleery@PhoenixUnion.org" target="_blank">McCleery@PhoenixUnion.org</a>.</p><p>The successful proposer is gaining more than just a project to add to its accomplishments. According to Johnson, “This is a moment in time where a company does something that makes a real difference in people’s lives. It’s part of a social justice moment.”<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
Phoenix Expands COVID-19 Business Relief Grant Eligibility, $1 Million in Funding Remaining; Grants End Oct. 30https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1587Community and Economic Development10/23/2020 7:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1587/Newsroom_CED_0091.jpgPhoenix Expands COVID-19 Business Relief Grant Eligibility, $1 Million in Funding Remaining; Grants End Oct. 30<div class="ExternalClass5B05CFD3B312481D89B778112EE9D97B"><html> <p> <em>Important note from City of Phoenix:​ </em><strong>The grant application process is simple. But if you have questions or need assistance filling it out, please contact the Arizona Community Foundation at 602-381-1400 or the Community and Economic Development Department at 602-262-5040. Staff is on hand and ready to assist you.  There is no fee or charge for this service. </strong><br><br>Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees in the city of Phoenix can now apply for grants up to $10,000 to offset lost revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic. The opportunity to apply for a grant ends Friday, October 30 at 5 p.m.<br><br> With just over $1 million left to award, the Phoenix City Council approved the expanded eligibility requirements to allow more businesses to qualify for a Phoenix Small Business Relief Grant, including businesses located in homes, worksharing or mobile locations, anywhere in the city of Phoenix. <br><br> Previously, only businesses within or adjoining low income neighborhoods were eligible to apply for the Small Business Relief Grant. With the council’s action, the grant is now open to companies located anywhere in the city of Phoenix.<br><br> The grants do not need to be repaid.​<br><br> The city has awarded more than 2,000 grants to small businesses totaling nearly $12 million since the program launched in May of 2020. <br><br> Eligible businesses include:​<br> </p> <ul dir="" style=""> <li><p>Retailers, professional services, manufacturers, restaurants, and similar businesses.</p></li> <li><p>Solo practitioners, home-based businesses, mobile businesses, such as food trucks, shared ride drivers, hair stylists and nail technicians.</p></li> </ul> <p> <br> To be eligible for the Small Business Relief Grant, a business must meet the following criteria:<br> </p> <ul dir="" style=""> <li><p>Operating in Phoenix for the last 12 months,<br></p></li> <li><p>25 or fewer employees as of March 1, 2020,</p></li> <li><p>sales under $3 million, and </p></li> <li><p>a sales decrease of 25 percent, or more, for March or any following month in 2020 when compared to the same month in 2019.</p></li> </ul> <p>Complete eligibility criteria for the grants are available at Phoenix.gov/Resources, click on the blue “For Business” button.<br><br> Businesses already receiving one of the Phoenix Small Business Resiliency Grants are not eligible to apply for a second grant. <br><br> For more information, visit <a href="https://phoenix.gov/resources" target="_blank">Phoenix.gov/Resources​</a> for all the details in English and Spanish.<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
Neighborhood Vision Becoming a Next-Generation Revitalization Realityhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1573Community and Economic Development10/16/2020 5:15:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1573/Newsroom_CED_0087.jpgNeighborhood Vision Becoming a Next-Generation Revitalization Reality<div class="ExternalClass8FD6B33640D448E085C93C0AE988899C"><html> <p style="text-align:center;"> <em>By Eric Jay Toll for the PhxNewsroom</em> </p> <p>The parking lot is bustling, as cars jostle for a position after turning in from 27th or Northern avenues. Pedestrians, families and students angle their way onto the 10-acre property on Northern Avenue just off Interstate 17. Revamped streetscape, sidewalks and bike lanes are active for those enjoying neighborhood walkability.</p> <p>Jeff Spellman and Gabe Saia stand at the corner, looking at the results of community effort. They’re looking at an artifact of ancient big-box retail. Now it shines as a community beacon, a catalyst bringing jobs, training and education to a stabilizing, thriving neighborhood.</p> <p>Incubator filled with community-born fledgling businesses. Check.</p> <p>Resources for business support and success. Check.</p> <p>Multiple local paths to careers through training and education. Check.</p> <p>Job creation aligned with the community next door. Check.</p> <p>A tangible sense of place that a neighborhood wanted. Check.</p> <p>It all means check marks on the “27th Avenue To-Do List” with the food innovation, education and job training center that opens in Fall 2021. Spellman and Saia see what happens when a neighborhood pumps ideas into adapting an old building for new uses to serve the community. </p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">A Family Investing in their Neighborhood’s Future</strong> </p> <p>“When our family bought the Kmart (2526 W. Northern Ave., Phoenix) in 2003, we knew the retailer’s days were numbered,” said Saia, property owner and member of Saia Family Limited Partnership. “At I-17 and Northern, it has good visibility and access. It is good dirt. We always believed it could be reused to a higher and better use than a retail department store and serve our community.”</p> <p>It’s also what happens when diverse neighborhood groups list what the community needs for the future. The loose association formed several years ago for the Phoenix Police VIP Coalition Action Plan. The program, which included strategic planning, among other goals, was designed to support neighborhood and business revitalization efforts. The Police Department’s VIP program was the foundation for creating this neighborhood-driven sense of place. </p> <p>Saia said the family couldn’t believe the retailer lasted until October 2018. Then it closed, and it was time to turn the investment.</p> <p>“I was getting calls from storage companies wanting to convert the 118,000-square-foot building into self-storage,” Saia said. “It just didn’t seem like converting from a retail store to self-storage would benefit the community. We didn’t have any ideas, though. Home Depot, Lowes, other big box stores said the location was good but that the big box store was no longer in demand. Then Jeff called.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">The Community as the Visionaries</strong> </p> <p>Spellman has been a community activist in the 27th Avenue Corridor for 25 years. He and other like-minded neighborhood groups see the area as riddled with opportunities waiting to happen.</p> <p>“I saw the real estate signs and called the number,” Spellman said. “I was surprised when the owner answered it.”</p> <p>Saia said that the first conversation started a series of meetings and calls leading to the community-driven concept: food innovation, education, startup and training center. </p> <p>“There were no ‘aha’ moments,” the owner said. “Jeff and I talked, the community had ideas, and then Winco was interested in the site.”</p> <p>The Idaho-based discount grocery chain liked the location, the tens of thousands of families nearby, and the community support for a discount food store. Spellman and neighborhood leaders were excited.</p> <p>“It’s what was wanted,” Saia said. “Winco was the perfect tenant, and we worked to close the deal.”</p> <p>Great location, everyone agreed. Plus, right next door to the 10.5-acre Black Canyon Shopping Center is Washington Elementary School. Winco may have been the perfect tenant, and the community wanted the store, but proximity to the school was a roadblock. It meant no liquor sales.</p> <p>“Grocery stores cannot survive without liquor sales,” said Saia. “The Winco deal fell through.”</p> <p>That community disappointment brought out the thinking caps.</p> <p>“Things just sort of evolved after that,” said Spellman.</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">The Five-Mile Vibe</strong> </p> <p>Joining the conversation, Washington Elementary School District Superintendent Paul Stanton told community leaders that the area's biggest challenge was a lack of stability. Some said that families seemed to be passing through instead of settling down.<br></p> <p> <img src="/econdevsite/MediaAssets/EconomyUpdate/27TH-AVENUE-20201016-Washington-Elementary-School-03.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:495px;" /> <br> </p> <p> <em>Washington Elementary School on 27th Avenue. </em>Image by City of Phoenix.<br></p> <p>“I grew up in this neighborhood. This is home. I wanted families living here to have the same opportunities for their kids as I did,” said Stanton. “It’s a matter of opening doors and giving opportunities. Kids can go after their oyster, and they can do most of it right here.”</p> <p>Times changed, and the feeling is that families do not believe the area offers a long-term future.</p> <p>“Dr. Stanton told us that the ability of students to see a path to success was crucial to turning the area into a desirable neighborhood,” said Saia. </p> <p>“We wanted to have open doors to high-paying opportunities, support for kids’ entrepreneur spirits, and even ways their parents could retool to better jobs with long-term prospects,” Stanton said. “It’s the five-mile vibe. Many young people settle as adults within five miles of where they grew up. I want their parents to set roots, so the kids want to come back and bring us a new generation close to family.”</p> <p>Spellman picks up the thread, “The idea of a community center with business startup resources, training, education opportunities and career certifications started to jell. We went to (Phoenix Planning and Development Director) Alan Stephenson with the idea and the question, ‘how do we make this work?’”</p> <p>“Jeff and others came to me with hopes for a broad community plan,” said Stephenson. “We worked with the to narrow the focus to what was most important. That resulted in helping them with the 27th Avenue To-Do List.”</p> <p>Stephenson and the Phoenix Planning & Development staff helped put the critical points into a flyer Spellman and others use to show what needs to be accomplished. This came about as a new council member was representing District 5.</p> <p>It wasn’t long after that District 5 City Council candidate and now Phoenix Vice Mayor, Betty Guardado, started hearing about the center during her office campaign in 2019.</p> <p>“Jeff (Spellman) came to me and told me about the project and the 27th Avenue To-Do List,” she said. “When I was elected (this project) was my very first meeting. It’s number one on my district priority list.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">The 48-Hour Difference</strong> </p> <p>“(Vice Mayor) Guardado was instrumental in connecting us with city resources and brought (Phoenix Community and Economic Development Director) Christine Mackay into the process,” recalls Spellman.</p> <p>Mackay chuckles at the recollection of the first meeting with the group, “I told them this needed some real thought; on the surface, I thought it just wasn’t feasible: Wrong building. Wrong location. Wrong project. I asked the group to give me the weekend.”</p> <p>Those 48 hours were game changers for the project and what it means. </p> <p>“This isn’t just something that will help a neighborhood,” said Mackay. “It’s a turning point for the city and is a global model for the future of the workforce.”</p> <p>The 27th Avenue center is not just a cutting-edge concept; it’s a next-generation development.</p> <p>“This is a project where adaptive reuse, community revitalization and the workforce of the future collide,” said Mackay. “Even now, while we’re locking down the deal, the idea is inspiring to developers looking at nearby Metrocenter and the whole I-17 employment corridor. A ‘next-gen’ development like this meets tomorrow’s workforce needs right now.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">A Steppingstone to Tomorrow</strong> </p> <p>Vice Mayor Guardado sees the 27th Avenue center as a significant steppingstone for changing the community. </p> <p>“In this area, families may not be able to afford to send their children to college,” she said. “We needed to offer a different path to training and education. With the center, we have found a long-term opportunity for the community.”</p> <p>Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego sees the project as a model usable elsewhere in the city.</p> <p>“This Innovation Center is a welcome revitalization to the current property and the neighborhoods around it. The community advocated for their vision to create an innovative center that will provide jobs and education training, and I am proud of the action we are taking to address those needs,” said the mayor. “Our city is continually maturing, changing, and looking ahead. This project highlights the very best of Phoenix.”</p> <p>Mackay believes that the challenge of revitalization is finding the visionary who wants to be first. “In this situation, the community is the visionary,” said Mackay. “It is their passion for this project that makes it not just viable for the neighborhood, but something that benefits the entire city.”</p> <p>Bringing the 27th Avenue center to fruition required the landowner to share the community’s passion.</p> <p>“The vision of potential buyers just doesn’t fit with the neighborhood,” said Saia. “I just didn’t see 118,000 square feet of storage with a couple of employees being helpful to the neighborhood over the long term. I wanted something that would be there 10, even 20 years down the road.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">Revitalization Without Gentrification</strong> </p> <p>“Many neighborhoods revitalize through gentrification,” said Stanton, referring to the process where edge areas are revitalized by new families moving in for well-priced housing, renovating homes, and raising prices. Actions that force out long-time families out of the neighborhood. “I wanted to revitalize my community by showing today’s kids; there is a future right here in the neighborhood. It’s all about opening doors.”</p> <p>“Gabe told me he didn’t know what his family wanted to do with the property, but that they wanted it to be something meaningful for the long term,” said Spellman. “So, we started talking.”</p> <p>The timing couldn’t have been better. It was 2019, and Kmart shut its doors a year earlier. The neighborhood groups behind the Phoenix Police VIP program decided it was time to do something different.</p> <p>“It was time to stop playing ‘Whack-a-Mole,’” said Spellman. “We were constantly trying to stop problems, but problems would go away and return. It was time to start looking ahead to something positive.”</p> <p>The newly-elected councilwoman for District 5 shared that passion.</p> <p>“This was something that is a real resource to the community,” she said. “It’s a catalyst to more housing. The center is an opportunity to bring everyone together under a roof to teach, live, and be part of this community.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">Nothing's Stopping the Momentum</strong> <br> </p> <p>The momentum was starting to build. The idea of merely offering food innovation centers with associated job-training, business startup incubation, and lifelong learning turned into a community-revitalization center.</p> <p>“It had to be something to be an aspiration for today’s students, said Stanton. “I like the idea of a student walking out of Washington Elementary School looking at this building and knowing that whatever they want, the opportunity is in this building, in their neighborhood. This is what’s going to turn us around. I want kids to go to school here to come back to raise a family and send their kids to school here.”</p> <p>“We changed the marketing effort,” Mackay said. “Instead of highlighting a vacant building, we started talking as if the center were open and serving the neighborhood. We talked about the tenants, the creative ways to finance the project, and how its opportunities would be a magnet to economic development throughout the whole I-17 corridor.”</p> <p>Dr. Stanton’s doors to the future envision a one-stop center open for certificates, training, and degrees from West-MEC, Maricopa Community Colleges and Arizona State University. The community had an even broader vision.</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">‘Ghost Kitchen’ on Steroids</strong> </p> <p> <em></em> <img src="/econdevsite/MediaAssets/EconomyUpdate/27TH-AVENUE-20201016-Future-Ghost-Kitchen.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:495px;" /> </p> <p> <em>A 10,000-square-foot outlier will be expanded to 25,000 square feet to become the ghost kitchen. </em>Image by City of Phoenix.<br></p> <p>Across the country, “ghost” kitchens were starting to appear. No one is making Halloween treats—well, they might. The ghost kitchen is like a shared workspace for restaurants and food companies. Owners rent micro kitchens from which they prepare meals for delivery or take out. There is no dining room. Multiple restaurants will use portions of the same kitchen.</p> <p>The ghost kitchen provides jobs, training opportunities, restaurant startup potential, and a place for making food products to package for resale. The neighborhood envisioned it taking most of the square footage in the old retail building. Many ideas were floating about. It made finding focus like nailing Jell-O to the wall.</p> <p>The task to find form and substance was assigned to Maricopa Community Colleges and consultant Russ Yelton. </p> <p>“The cost of creating a ghost kitchen inside the big box was extremely expensive,” said Yelton, president of Yelton and Associates. “It would take more than a third of the $15 million budget to accommodate just the plumbing and exhaust vents. That price doesn’t even include the kitchen equipment.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">Every Bump a New Opportunity</strong> </p> <p>With momentum growing for the 27th Avenue center, every bump in the road turned into a new opportunity. Saia owns an adjoining parcel with a 10,000 square-foot building. More efficiency came from moving from the ghost kitchen into the outlying building. The outlier building will be more than doubled in size to around 25,000 square feet.</p> <p>“What the community has put together here is the trendy food innovation center on steroids,” Yelton said. “The center is a central part of the neighborhood and will keep kids here when they finish high school.”</p> <p>Mackay says that the overall program and facility are ways of creating the workforce of the future. Vice Mayor Guardado believes the center will have something for everyone. Saia, the owner, feels the 27th Avenue center is the kind of legacy his family wants for the area.</p> <p>“We’re going to have pathways for everyone,” said Yelton. “With high school technical training, certification programs, associate and bachelor degree programs, the center will be an opportunity for lifelong opportunity.”</p> <p>Dr. Stanton said that the focus is on providing kids choices for long-term, forecastable careers and jobs.</p> <p>“Something will be here, so they will want to stay in the neighborhood and bring a new and younger generation,” he said. “This adds 30 to 40 years of generational stability. But it’s not just for the kids. Parents who want to retool into new careers will also be users of the center.”</p> <p> <strong style="font-size:24px;">A Natural Partnership, An Unlimited Future</strong> </p> <p>Providing the education opportunities is a natural for West-MEC, MCC and ASU. The three higher education organizations are ironing out their combined roles of training the next generation of workforce and providing opportunities to grow the current workforce into retooled careers.</p> <p>“The ghost kitchen fits right into this,” Yelton said. “We’re paving an education pathway that provides opportunities for new restaurants to open without the substantial expenses of a dining room. It also provides job opportunities for the neighborhood.”</p> <p>“It’s my hope that the three schools will offer training and education in sectors with good career opportunities 10 to 15 years down the road,” Stanton said. “I can see that the student could start down one road, and changes in the economy or business allows them to retool into a new career. Their parents can get advanced training now or retool into a new career.”</p> <p>Mackay says that the 27th Avenue center is the way to grow jobs for the city. With the various programs under one roof, the adaptive facility covers all spectrums of education and community growth.</p> <p>“Having this type of resource to help businesses form says to the owners, ‘it’s okay to try and fail, and we can help you try and succeed again,’” she said. “The more you think about the possibilities the center creates, the more passionate everyone is becoming to get across the finish line.”</p> <p>Guardado and Mackay are confident that November will be a significant milestone for the project.</p> <p> <img src="/econdevsite/MediaAssets/EconomyUpdate/27TH-AVENUE-20201016-Washington-Elementary-School-02.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:495px;" /> <br> <em></em>Image by City of Phoenix.​<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
Phoenix Invests Big in Health Care and Biosciences, Hoping to Boost Economy and Add Jobshttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1501Community and Economic Development9/14/2020 2:20:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1501/Newsroom_CED_0057.jpgPhoenix Invests Big in Health Care and Biosciences, Hoping to Boost Economy and Add Jobs<div class="ExternalClass504EE2F0CFF7456886211BBE3A09157A"><html> <p><em>Claudia Whitehead turns from her computer screen and picks up her phone. The caller is the CEO of a Phoenix-based biosciences company calling to tell the program manager in the Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department that it landed $1 million in seed money to advance its contribution in the search to cure cancer. The company needs help in expanding its workforce. ​​​​</em><br></p> <p><em> </em><img alt="Photo, Claudia Whitehead, program manager" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:200px;vertical-align:baseline;" src="/econdevsite/MediaAssets/STAFF-20180222-Whitehead-Claudia-450PX.jpg" /><em>To get the ball rolling, Whitehead will confer with a teammate at the Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Center, part of the city's Arizona@Work career program. A representative from GateWay Community College’s LabForce will be swept into that conversation. Within a matter of hours, work begins to set up a custom training program to help the company grow out of its incubator. It's just another service from city of Phoenix to the growing bioscience healthcare industry sector in the city.</em></p> <p><em>"Bioscience healthcare has become one of our core industry sectors," said Whitehead. "When we started talking with Amanda Morris, bioscience reporter for The Arizona Republic, it became apparent that Phoenix is a major global center for life-changing bioscience achievements. The work being accomplished with precision medicine and cancer research is like something from science fiction. In Phoenix, we have the ecosystem in bioscience to take the future of medicine from discovery to delivery."</em><br></p> <p><em>Amanda Morris, the bioscience reporter for the The Arizona Republic, pulls back the curtain and unveils how 7,000 new jobs in bioscience healthcare are to be dispersed around the growth in the sector.</em><br></p> <h3>Companies are investing billions in Phoenix's bioscience and health care industries, which is expected to bring 7,000 new jobs.<br></h3> <p style="text-align:center;"><em>By Amanda Morris for The Arizona Republic</em></p> <p>Phoenix recovered more slowly than the rest of the nation after the Great Recession, taking years to recoup lost jobs. <br></p> <p>But this time around, the region might see faster recovery from the COVID-19 recession.<br></p> <p>One big reason is the city’s changing economic landscape, which has begun to rely less on construction and focus increasingly on sectors like health care and bioscience.<br></p> <p>Those industries are more resilient in the face of economic changes, said Christine Mackay, community and economic development director for the city of Phoenix. She said the city has seen significant growth in health care and bioscience over the past few years.<br></p> <p>​Read the full story in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.azcentral.com/in-depth/news/local/arizona-science/2020/09/13/bioscience-and-health-care-industries-expand-and-add-jobs-phoenix/3392691001/">The Arizona Republic</a>.<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
Phoenix Council Action Lets Hundreds More Small Businesses Apply for Covid-19 Grantshttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1492Community and Economic Development9/8/2020 6:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1492/Newsroom_CED_0055.jpgPhoenix Council Action Lets Hundreds More Small Businesses Apply for Covid-19 Grants<div class="ExternalClassA9D21C0C5DC948EBBA8DBA57B97B9404"><html> <div><strong><em>Important note from City of Phoenix: </em>The grant application process is simple. But if you have questions or need assistance filling it out, please contact the Arizona Community Foundation at 602-381-1400 or the Community and Economic Development Department at 602-262-5040. Staff is on hand and ready to assist you. There is no fee or charge for this service.​</strong></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">More small businesses are now eligible to apply for relief under the Phoenix Small Business Resiliency Grants Program. Previously ineligible companies are now able to seek grants up to $10,000 and commercial city service bill offsets, thanks to action by the Phoenix City Council.</span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">The changes modify business longevity requirements and expand the range of Covid-19-impacted months.</span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">Now, a business operating in Phoenix for the last 12 months may be eligible to apply. Previously, businesses had to be open since January 1, 2019. </span></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">The new requirements allow owners to show a Covid-19-caused sales drop of at least 25 percent in March 2020 or any subsequent month when compared to the same month in 2019. The original requirement was to show the loss in March and April 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. </span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">Complete updated information is at <a href="https://phoenix.gov/resources" target="_blank">Phoenix.gov/Resources​</a>.</span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">The changes affect the Phoenix Small Business Relief and the Phoenix Microbusiness Resiliency Grants, which still have more than $4 million to be awarded to eligible businesses. </span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">The Phoenix Microbusiness Resiliency Grant is for Phoenix-based home businesses, solo practitioners, independent contractors renting space in another location – like barbers, aestheticians, nail technicians or hairstylists, mobile service business – including food trucks, come-to-you auto repair or repair firms, and small retail and service firms. The maximum award is up to $5,000.</span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">Microbusinesses have five or fewer employees and gross sales of under $1 million over the last 12 months. Any microbusiness in Phoenix is eligible to apply. </span></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;"><br></span></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">Targeting businesses in and adjoining low-income neighborhoods, the Phoenix Small Business Relief Grant can award a company as much as $10,000. A small business is defined as six to 25 employees with gross sales of under $3 million during the last 12 months. Any Phoenix small business in a low-income census tract is eligible to apply.</span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">The change also affects the Commercial City Services Bill Relief Grant. When applying for one of the Resiliency Grants, a business owner can check a box on the form and request assistance for the city services bill at the same time. For Phoenix businesses that are not applying for the Microbusiness or Small Business grants, a link to the Commercial City Services Bill Relief Grant application is on the Phoenix.gov/Resources webpage</span></div><div><br style="font-size:17.3333px;"></div><div><span style="font-size:17.3333px;">Phoenix has awarded more than 1,400 businesses grants worth more than $7.48 million since the Resiliency Grants program was announced in May. The Phoenix Restaurant Restart Resiliency Grant is fully subscribed with more than 100 restaurants sharing a $1 million grant fund.</span></div><div><br></div><div><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>​For more information use the following link <br>or call 602-262-5040.</strong><br style=""></span></div><div><span style="font-size:24px;">Complete information in English and Spanish is available at </span><a target="_blank" href="https://phoenix.gov/resources"><span style="font-size:24px;">Phoenix.gov/Resources</span></a><span style="font-size:24px;">. The Arizona Community Foundation administers the grant program.</span><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>​Calls to Eric Jay Toll are for media only, he does not have information about the grants.</strong><br></div> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
Phoenix-Based Food Company Helping Beirut in a Big Way After Explosionshttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1503Community and Economic Development9/1/2020 7:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1503/Newsroom_CED_0086.jpgPhoenix-Based Food Company Helping Beirut in a Big Way After Explosions<div class="ExternalClass93ABEF77830942019D91EFF24955C3A4"><html> <p>A Phoenix food company announced on Monday that they are giving back in a big way. And they are doing it internationally!</p> <p>​The Phoenix-based nutritious spread company PB Americano Foods, the makers of Americano nut butters, announced that throughout September, it will be giving 100% of proceeds from online sales to relief work in Beirut, Lebanon, a place suffering from a recent explosion and continuing economic woes.</p> <p>To add to that, FirstBank, one of the country's largest privately held banks, is matching whatever PB Americano Foods makes throughout September. The bank has a strong focus on "banking for good."<br></p> <p>PB Americano Foods co-owners Denise and Jeff Malkoon, both third-generation Phoenicians of Lebanese descent, wanted to do all they can to help those who need it the most.<br></p> Read more at <a target="_blank" href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/phoenix-based-food-company-helping-beirut-in-a-big-way-after-explosions/ar-BB18zR3B">MSN News​</a>. <br></html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
Valley Smart Streets Traffic Management Gets Green Lighthttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1457Community and Economic Development8/17/2020 11:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1457/Newsroom_CED_0085.jpgValley Smart Streets Traffic Management Gets Green Light<div class="ExternalClass4DCCC55A4CA94E46B7BA3201170CE565"><html> <p>Smart traffic lights may make life easier for drivers in Phoenix. Here in LA, where traffic is now picking up again despite the ongoing pandemic, I can safely say we're monitoring the situation closely.<br></p> <p style="text-align:center;"> <em>By Greg Nichols for ZDNet Robotics</em> <br> </p> <p>The new effort is the brainchild (naturally) of a California-based company called NoTraffic. The rollout, which begins today, will take place a few key intersections in order to improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle and pedestrian delays by taking the system off of a timer-based model and coordinate the lights based on actual demand. In some deployments, the company has seen up to 40 percent reduction in vehicle delay time.<br></p> <p>One of the interesting benefits of the traffic grid management system is that it can coordinate what's called emergency vehicle preemption to give first-responders the clearest path through busy commuter corridors. Leveraging AI and connected vehicle technology (V2X) that distinguishes between cars, bikes, pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles, and commercial fleets, the NoTraffic platform tracks road assets as they approach an intersection and calculate "in real time the most optimal service for the intersection and autonomously changing the lights accordingly."  The system takes into  account safety considerations like vehicles' blind spots.<br></p> <p>Read the full story at <a target="_blank" href="https://www.zdnet.com/article/ai-based-traffic-management-gets-green-light/">ZDNet​</a>.<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED
UArizona, State of Arizona Expand Eligibility for COVID-19 Antibody Testing in Concert with $7.7M Study to Better Understand Immunityhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/ced/1420Community and Economic Development7/23/2020 7:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/1420/Newsroom_CED_0084.jpgUArizona, State of Arizona Expand Eligibility for COVID-19 Antibody Testing in Concert with $7.7M Study to Better Understand Immunity<div class="ExternalClass344407330FEB4F5DBC45FB76413AA10F"><html> <p>Following a significant increase in the number of Arizonans who have been exposed to COVID-19, the University of Arizona and state of Arizona are expanding their free COVID-19 antibody testing program for 250,000 people across the state to include 15 new categories of essential workers considered at high risk for exposure. The antibody test, developed by researchers at UArizona Health Sciences, determines who has been exposed to and developed an immune response against COVID-19. <br></p> <p style="text-align:center;"> <em>By George Humphrey for University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix <br></em> <em style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;">on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in Downtown Phoenix</em> </p> <p>The following essential workers, in addition to workers in eight other employment categories, are now eligible for antibody testing under the program:</p> <ul dir="" class="" style=""> <li> Educators</li> <li> Child care workers</li> <li> Agriculture, grocery and food service workers</li> <li> Hospitality employees</li> <li> Solid waste collection workers</li> <li> Transportation services workers</li> <li> Members of the National Guard</li> </ul> <p>Health care workers and first responders continue to have access to the testing. More information and registration for the test is available at covid19antibodytesting.arizona.edu [arizona.us3.list-manage.com].</p> <p>"Our antibody test is exceedingly accurate in determining who has developed an immune response against the COVID-19 virus. Combined with other tools such as diagnostic testing and contact tracing, it can help us better understand exposure, spread and levels of protection in our communities," said Deepta Bhattacharya [arizona.us3.list-manage.com], one of the developers of the antibody test and an associate professor in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson's Department of Immunobiology.</p> <p> <strong>Significant Immunity Study Launching </strong> <br> </p> <p>In conjunction with the expanded testing eligibility, the university also is launching a $7.7 million yearlong study funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify patterns of COVID-19 immunity over time in previously and newly infected individuals. Dr. Jeff Burgess [arizona.us3.list-manage.com], associate dean for research and a professor at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is serving as principal investigator for the study, named the Arizona Healthcare, Emergency Response, and Other Essential Workers Surveillance, or AZ HEROES, Study.</p> <p>"The research questions we intend to answer will help us understand how long immunity to COVID-19 persists, and if secondary exposures to the virus are handled differently by the body than the initial exposure," Burgess said.</p> <p>The research team will seek to enroll 4,000 health care workers, first responders and other frontline workers as participants in the study, who will participate in weekly COVID-19 surveillance and quarterly antibody testing. For questions about the AZ HEROES Study, call the study team at 520-848-4026, or email AZHeroes@arizona.edu(link sends e-mail).</p> <p>Karen Lutrick  [arizona.us3.list-manage.com]of the College of Medicine – Tucson; Kate Ellingson [arizona.us3.list-manage.com] and Dr. Joe Gerald [arizona.us3.list-manage.com] of the College of Public Health; and Bonnie LaFleur [arizona.us3.list-manage.com], a research professor of biostatistics at the UArizona BIO5 Institute, are co-investigators for the study. Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich [arizona.us3.list-manage.com], one of the developers of the antibody test, head of the Department of Immunobiology and co-director of the Center on Aging, will oversee the biological analyses for the study.</p> <p> <strong>Differences in COVID-19 Testing</strong> </p> <p>There are three types of tests that are being deployed during the pandemic – two that use nasal swabs to diagnose whether an individual is currently infected with the COVID-19 virus, and one that uses a blood draw to determine whether an individual has developed antibodies and an immune response against the virus. An antibody test is not used to diagnose an active infection.</p> <p>The antibody test developed at UArizona Health Sciences is one of the most accurate in the country. The testing lab uses two different viral proteins, both of which must return antibody signals for a sample to be called positive. Tests have been further validated in the lab to confirm the presence of virus-neutralizing antibodies, the best available measure of immunological protection.</p> <p>Video available for viewing from <a target="_blank" href="https://arizona.app.box.com/s/qw5rpl3cfir7mpsj2uta1og2moumd9yb">UArizoa</a><br></p> <p> <em>Antibody Testing Media Contact:</em> <br> </p> <p>George Humphrey<br><span style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;">University of Arizona Health Sciences<br></span><span style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;">520-307-2638<br></span><a target="_blank" href="mailto:ghumphre@arizona.edu" style="background-color:window;font-size:10pt;">GHumphre@arizona.edu</a><span style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;"><br></span></p> <p> <em>Research Study Media Contact:</em> </p> <p>Shipherd Reed<br><span style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;">College of Public Health<br></span><span style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;">520-471-4484<br></span><span style="background-color:window;color:windowtext;font-size:10pt;"><a target="_blank" href="mailto:shipherd@arizona.edu">shipherd@arizona.edu</a></span></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/econdevNewscedCED



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