REACH gets $450,000 from US EDA

Our first-ever federal grant will advance initiatives to drive job creation in four target industries and strengthen economic resilience across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. 

The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the grant under its Nuclear Closure Communities program, to be matched by local dollars to help mitigate the economic and social impacts of Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s closure in 2025.

Show me the money: With the investment, REACH is spearheading the launch of industry consortia to catalyze job growth in four target sectors:

  • agriculture technology
  • clean technology + renewable energy
  • aerospace, defense + precision manufacturing
  • technology

These industries were targeted in the REACH 2030 plan for their potential to become prime drivers of high-wage jobs in the region. The consortia will convene industry representatives around growth opportunities and work with government, education and other organizations to create programs to support innovation, start-up formation and workforce development.

On top of that, we’ll be broadening REACH 2030 — created with the input of 200 regional leaders and more than a thousand stakeholders — into a two-county Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).

A what? Yeah, it sounds pretty bureaucratic. But it’s a step that opens up new funding sources for the region, making local governments, nonprofits and civic groups throughout San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties more competitive for additional grants.

“I am elated that our region will benefit from this federal grant, which will help cushion the economic impact of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant’s closure by generating good-paying jobs in our region,” Congressman Salud Carbajal said. “I look forward to my continued work with federal agencies and REACH to propel our economy forward as we recover from the pandemic.”

SLO County has already contributed $150,000 toward the local match; Santa Barbara Countywill soon be considering an equivalent contribution. Bank of America has also generously granted $70,000 in matching funds to support the work.

“Bank of America is committed to increasing economic opportunities in the markets we serve,” Bank of America San Luis Obispo Region President Greg Bland said. “We’re proud to be able to partner in this effort to bolster the Central Coast economy by helping businesses grow and unlocking additional federal investment for the region.”

You’ll be hearing much more on this as we set things in motion with our many regional partners, including local governments and elected officials, major employers, chambers of commerce and other business advocacy groups, workforce development boards, state agencies and education.

In the meantime, join us in celebrating this federal investment in the Central Coast’s future!

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