YSU committee gives support to grant proposal

By Denise Dick



A Youngstown State University trustee committee has approved a resolution of support for an economic-development grant for the city.

YSU’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies is working with the city on a $219,792 grant proposal to be submitted to the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Ron Chordas, YSU associate provost for university outreach and executive director of the Public Service Institute, said the majority of the money would be used to pay a staff member with marketing and economic- development experience. The grant would be for two years, and the university wouldn’t be obligated to continue that individual’s employment when the grant runs out.

Funding from the proposal would allow YSU to strengthen its partnership with the city and economic- development entities in order “to develop a coordinated plan to address the economic-development needs of the city,” according to background information submitted to YSU trustees’ Academic Quality and Student Success Committee.

YSU’s contribution is in-kind through three staff members spending 5 percent to 10 percent of their time on the work, Chordas said. The city’s economic-development office staff also will contribute in-kind services, working on plan.

The city’s assets will be inventoried and their usage evaluated. Those working on the plan will meet with economic-development officers in the region, address the gaps existing in how the city is functioning and develop strategies to attract and retain business in the city.

“The culmination of the project will be an Economic Development Summit in which YSU will present the comprehensive strategies developed through the study to the community stakeholders,” the resolution’s summary and analysis says. “Strengthening and building upon the city/university partnership will advance the economy of the city and assure ongoing, continuing investment in the region.”

Chordas said a job description for the staff member to be hired will be developed with help from Eastgate Regional Council of Governments. The candidate should have successful economic-development and marketing experience.

“It would be nice of the board of trustees could review some of those applicants,” said Trustee Harry Meshel.

There may be some interest in continuing the position after the grant ends, he said.

Approval of support for the grant proposal also is required from city council and could come at a meeting next week.

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