New England News
6:30 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Jobs Bill Would Provide Funds For Research Grants At UMass

The Democratic leadership in the Massachusetts House has
unveiled a bill to promote job growth.  The proposals would help launch
new innovative businesses, and also expand the state's manufacturing
sector.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        The centerpiece of the bill, unveiled this week by Massachusetts
House Speaker Robert Deleo, is a proposed $50 million dollar fund for
research and development. Half of the money  would be reserved for the
University of Massachusetts with the rest for projects at other
Massachusetts  research institutions.

        State Representative John Scibak of South Hadley, a leading
proponent of creating what the bill calls the 'Innovation Investment
Fund' said it would be a source for researchers to compete for matching
grants.  Projects would get $1 from the state's fund for every $3 '
obtained from other sources.

        The money for the state's research and development fund would
come from a bond bill the legislature will need to approve.

        Scibak and others say the fund will provide a major boost to the
UMass flagship Amherst campus in its drive to become a top 25 national
research university.  Ed Blaguszewski, spokesman for UMass Amherst said
university officials are very encouraged about what the House Speaker is
proposing.

        DeLeo's jobs bill would also offer financial incentives for
internships and mentoring programs at start-up companies to encourage
the businesses to grow in Massachusetts.

        There is also an effort to boost the state's manufacturing
sector by getting community colleges to partner with local employers and
workforce development specialists.  Kevin Lynn of the Future Works
Career Center in Springfield said this proposal could help address the
skills gap in precision manufacturing.

        The jobs bill pending in the house would extend and in some
cases expand several existing tax credit and business incentive
programs. It would also extend for two years state and local permits
granted to developers  for projects that stalled because of the
recession.

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