CED awarded federal grant to bolster aerospace, defense economy in LA

October 3, 2017

CED Executive Director Leonard Mitchell speaking during an AMP SoCal press conference in 2014 (Photo by Gus Ruelas)

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded an $875,000 grant to the USC Center for Economic Development (CED) at the Price School of Public Policy. The funding will allow CED to assist economically distressed areas in Southern California and develop strategies to promote the growth and sustainability of aviation and advanced manufacturing in aerospace and defense (A&D). The project will include plans to cultivate and expand existing advanced manufacturing clusters, while laying the groundwork to attract and build new hubs for A&D throughout the region.

“Efforts will also be taken to promote and leverage potential opportunities related to general aviation airports as economic engines in distressed communities,” said Leonard Mitchell, Executive Director of CED and Professor of Practice of Economic Development at USC Price. “These activities will result in fostering public-private partnerships, creating a supportive regional ecosystem for business investment and innovation, and increasing employment and wage growth opportunities.”

CED Program Director Deepak Bahl (Photo by Tom Queally)

According to Deepak Bahl, the center’s program director and adjunct associate professor at USC Price, CED will lead this new effort, working with partners in the aerospace and defense industry, government and academia. Through this project, CED will be engaged in the several activities, including:

  • Attracting businesses to the March Joint Powers Authority to develop an ecosystem of high technology and advanced manufacturing firms.
  • Conducting research to understand economic and job creation opportunities in general aviation and reliever airports (GAA), especially in and around economically distressed communities.
  • Conducting an in-depth market analysis of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Southern California to identify business expansion and partnership opportunities.

“We commend the University of Southern California for working to spur economic opportunities in the Southern California region through research and evaluation,” EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs Dennis Alvord said in a statement. “The completion of this project will provide local decision makers with useful information to support sound economic development planning for the region.”

Since 2014, the USC Center for Economic Development has led AMP SoCal, a collaboration of government, academic and private-sector organizations aimed at strengthening the A&D manufacturing economy across Southern California. To date, the CED-led AMP SoCal effort has created more than 5,000 jobs and retained nearly 3,000 additional jobs throughout the region.