ACE Initiative 2015
The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services Partners to Connect Companies to Growth and Innovation Assets
The Advanced Composites Employment Accelerator of East Tennessee (ACE) is "part of the federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to bring the public and private sectors together to build on America’s regional strengths and create jobs in key industries of the future," as described by former acting U.S. Commerce Secretary, Rebecca Blank. With support from federal agencies including the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the Department of Labor, ACE focuses resources to accelerate the growth of the advanced composites cluster in East Tennessee through these key strategies:
- Improve industry competitiveness and accelerate technology commercialization by connecting companies to technical assistance and advanced composites technologies at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee;
- Develop workforce skills to meet the needs of the advanced composites industry; and
- Identify gaps in the supply chain and integrate resources to address market opportunities, technology needs, workforce development needs, and other opportunities to strengthen and grow the cluster.
The University of Tennessee Center for IndustrialServices (UT CIS) is a partner in the ACE initiative, collaborating with regional partners to accelerate cluster growth. UT CIS works to provide outreach to cluster firms to make them aware of ACE partnership resources, identify opportunities and needs of cluster industries, and help companies integrate innovative technologies and process improvements into their operations.
Through ACE, UT CIS has leveraged the support of federal and regional partners to implement projects with over 20 companies throughout the region. Funding support from EDA has enabled companies to access emerging technologies and research and development support from ORNL and UT that has helped them incorporate new products and technologies into their operations, pursue new market opportunities, and undertake projects that have resulted in improved competitiveness, increased profitability, and new jobs and capital investment in the region.
Contact Beth Phillips, Economic Development Programs Manager, Beth.Phillips@tennessee.edu