Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, announced last week that the organization has been awarded more than $2 million in funding from the Omnibus Authorization Bill, which was signed into law by President Obama.
“We’re very pleased to have received funding for these critical projects,” said Ken Rogers, executive director. “Now, more than ever, we need to create high-technology products, services and jobs. These projects will allow us to better assist our members and the business community in Southeast Michigan. We thank Senator Levin, Senator Stabenow and former Congressman Knollenberg for their support in the last session and also Congressman Peters for his support in this session.”
The first project is a feasibility study on a 4,000 square foot expansion of Automation Alley’s Troy headquarters for $285,000. The current building and property will be reviewed to plan the construction of additional meeting rooms and parking, as well as renovating the facility to host international guests.
Since the building opened in 2004, Automation Alley’s membership has doubled from 500 to more than 1,000 members. Parking has become a challenge from this growth. More than 15,000 people have used Automation Alley’s headquarters in the past two years.
“The City of Troy’s partnership with Automation Alley is vital in promoting business attraction and technology company growth,” said Brian Murphy, assistant city manager/economic development services. “This construction grant will provide for renovation to bolster international business attraction to Troy and Southeast Michigan.”
The remaining two projects – the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and the BUSolutions project – each received additional funding. The AMTC project will receive $428,000 to train displaced and dislocated adult workers in the advanced manufacturing industry.
“The equipment used in the AMTC program is state-of-the-art for the industry,” said Bill Williams, director of the AMTC program and a consultant for Oakland Schools in Career Focused Education.
“We offer software that is widely used for designing cars, trains, ships, aircraft and other manufactured products. In addition, there is also a broad array of training options for "green" technologies.”
An additional $1.6 million has been allocated to the BUSolutions project, which is a collaborative effort between government and industry, intended to demonstrate the feasibility of producing easily maintainable, efficient city transit buses.
In partnership with Altair Engineering, it is expected that the organizations will complete one prototype bus that will be delivered to SMART in 2010.