St. Johns Unified School District, City of Show Low, City of St. Johns and Grow Arizona will each receive $25,000 to support growth
Four organizations serving Arizona communities impacted by the ongoing retirement of coal-fired power plants are the first to receive economic development grants from the new Utility Grant Funding Program.
The City of Show Low, City of St. Johns, St. Johns Unified School District and Grow Arizona will each receive $25,000 towards their missions from Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP) and Tucson Electric Power (TEP). The funding will provide critical support in developing new economic strategies for a more sustainable future for these groups and their stakeholders.
Grow Arizona is a unique one-on-one workforce development nonprofit that works closely with individuals ages 15 to 25, focused in Navajo and Apache Counties. The organization has a strong presence on high school campuses to help young people gain access to professionals and resources, helping create pathways to success whether it be to college, trade school or direct to career. Grow Arizona will use part of its Utility Grant funds to assist in researching, identifying, and applying for workforce development grants. The other portion of the funds will support capturing accurate data as part of its alumni tracking program.
“We at Grow Arizona want to express our deepest gratitude for the grant funding that is being provided,” Linda Kor, Director of Grow Arizona. “This generous support will not only enable us to continue our mission but will allow us to pursue additional funding in order to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve.”
The City of Show Low is proactively seeking economic development strategies to strengthen and diversify its economy. The city will use its grant funds to conduct a feasibility study for a business incubator project. The incubator will offer temporary, low-cost workspace, which will include the use of commercial kitchen, to provide a nurturing environment for developing small businesses of all industries, including food-service businesses. The goal is for users to outgrow this space and move to larger, permanent facilities within the community.
“The City of Show Low is committed to providing resources and infrastructure to support businesses of all types, especially small businesses, and entrepreneurs,” said Steve North, Business Development, City of Show Low. “The Utility Grant provided the opportunity for Show Low to seek economic development strategies to strengthen and diversify the economy and stabilize the financial base in preparation for the retirement of coal-fired power plants.”
The City of St. Johns plans to use its grant funds toward the creation of a proposed Regional Energy and Education Tech Center which would be situated at the City’s Light Industrial area. This project will allow current coal power plant workers to learn new skills while providing valuable education opportunities for local residents and supporting private enterprise and job creation through business incubation.
“St. Johns would like to express appreciation of the Utility Grant Committee for their continued community outreach support for our region during the transition of the coal-fired generating stations,” said Mayor Spencer Udall of the City of St. Johns. “As we all know, if we pull together, we will be successful in creating a sustainable future. To that end, the city is working diligently in creating partnerships that will help create future funding for our programs.”
St. Johns Unified School District is comprised of Coronado Elementary School, St. Johns Middle School, St. Johns High School, and the St. Johns Learning Center, with an average population of around 1,000 students. The school district will use its Utility Grant funds to hire or provide professional development training for a grant writer to pursue grant funding opportunities to help bolster property tax revenue that funds a major portion of St. Johns School District’s current budget.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of those who have made these funds available to us,” said Kyle Patterson, Superintendent of St. Johns Unified School District. “The potential future funds that will be secured as a result of the training and resources this grant will provide has the potential to benefit our students for years to come.”
APS, SRP and TEP pledged a combined $1 million to be awarded as part of the Utility Grant Funding Program, with area-specific tribal, state and local governments, public schools, economic development groups and nonprofit groups eligible to apply. More details about submission eligibility and requirements are available here. The second grant application cycle is currently open with an application deadline of August 15, 2023.
This program builds on other successful economic development efforts, including the Arizona Commerce Authority’s approval of an Arizona Broadband Development grant in 2022 for Apache and Navajo counties.