Quad Cities Receives Innovation Hub Grant

September  26, 2013

After receiving federal dollars, the Quad Cities can now create an innovation hub. Wednesday the U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce and the Bi-State Regional Commission a $162,000 grant to encourage growth in manufacturing.

Chamber Executive Vice President, Paul Rumler, says manufacturing plays a large role in the Quad Cities.

"For decades we have been a center of activity," said Rumler. "If you look at our major employers, 18 percent of our economy is based in manufacturing. Sixteen percent of our workforce is based in that sector. And we have been producing products from aerospace to agriculture, to defense-related materials, robotics, for a long, long time."

Additional local money will help fund the $325,000 Manufacturing Innovation Hub. Rumler says it will help manufacturing companies innovate, by connecting them with educational and research institutions.

"We are looking at how do we assist our area manufacturing base to be competitive in a global economy," said Rumler. "As we're looking at new manufacturing techniques, new innovations, new materials, new ways of putting those materials together, how do we get that type of research into the hands of our local companies."

For the next year, Rumler says the Quad Cities Chamber and Bi-State Regional Commission will work on plans, and hope to open the innovation hub next September. He says the ultimate goal of the hub is to spur job growth in the Quad Cities.