Arizona Commerce Authority Awarded $1.8 Million Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Grant

Grant money to strengthen Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry


PHOENIX, AZ (October 11, 2012)  The Arizona Commerce Authority is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $1.8 million Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Grant from a consortium of five federal government agencies: Economic Development Administration (EDA); Department of Energy (DOE); Employment and Training Administration (ETA); Small Business Administration (SBA); and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).


The ACA will use the funding to accelerate innovation and job creation in the aerospace and defense industry within an identified six-county region: Cochise, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma. This cluster is responsible for approximately 55,500 jobs (nearly two-thirds in manufacturing industries), is built on a foundation comprised of significant military assets (including Fort Huachuca and the Yuma Proving Grounds), includes world-class research laboratories, and is home to major defense and aerospace companies.


“The aerospace and defense industry is a critical economic driver in Arizona,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “From our well-established military assets to our pursuit of new testing for unmanned aerial systems, Arizona has become a national leader in aerospace and defense. This grant will help ensure that we continue to grow and add quality jobs in this sector.”


“This grant will solidify Arizona as the premier U.S. location for aerospace and defense companies,” said Sandra Watson, Interim President and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority. “Our strategic initiatives will build and diversify our existing base of A&D companies and suppliers, grow small and medium-sized businesses, and position these companies to better compete in the global marketplace.”


In the next three years, specifically, the ACA will:

  • Enhance  coordination  of  industry,  academic,  military  and  public  leadership efforts to strengthen the region’s A&D cluster;
  • Promote exports among existing aerospace companies to targeted international markets;
  • Help small and medium-sized A&D manufacturers in the region identify new products, expand the markets for their existing products and identify solutions to technology problems;
  • Enhance efforts to create a database of A&D supplier firms that will enable small, disadvantaged, women and minority-owned firms to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the growth of the region’s A&D cluster; and more.

The ACA will provide overall management of these strategic initiatives, collaborating closely with several key partners including the Arizona Science Foundation, the Arizona Technology Council, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, a national network of Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers, and several key A&D companies.


“Success will come in the form of jobs created and retained, additional domestic and export sales, and an increase in supplier firm relationships,” added Watson.   “These critical, momentum-building initiatives will help companies grow, further strengthening Arizona’s overall economy.”


Media Contact

Nicole McTheny, Arizona Commerce Authority, (602) 845-1231, [email protected]


About the Arizona Commerce Authority

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.