(FLINT, MICH. – October 8) The U.S. Economic Development Administration recently awarded an economic development planning grant to the I-69 International Trade Corridor.  The partners of the four-county alliance from Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer and St. Clair counties will utilize the $70,000 grant to develop a strategy for jobs and investment in the region.  Funds were granted to the Genesee Area Focus Fund, a nonprofit arm of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the I-69 International Trade Corridor Next Michigan Development Corporation (NMDC).

The EDA grant was awarded through a competitive process.  The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) will help bring together the public and private sector to create an economic development plan to strengthen and diversify the regional economy.

"Strategic planning and implementation are important aspects of economic development in the I-69 International Trade Corridor,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.  “Through federal and state support the Corridor partners will be able to create a plan for economic growth that will build on the region’s assets and infrastructure. This is a win-win situation for all of the communities along I-69.”

According to Janice Karcher, Vice President for Economic Development for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce this federal grant provides matching support for the Corridor’s CEDS plan.

“We are excited about receiving this EDA grant,” said Karcher.  “The I-69 International Trade Corridor partners continue to work collaboratively to strengthen the region. The receipt of this funding is a vote of confidence for the work we have done so far. By leveraging funding from the EDA we will be able to do the research and expand partnerships necessary to continue our growth.”

Paul Brake, Chair of the I-69 International Trade Corridor NMDC says the EDA funding will help facilitate public private partnerships to identify opportunities for collaborative growth in the Corridor.

“From the beginning the I-69 International Trade Corridor has been all about collaboration,” said Brake.  “The four counties in the Corridor have been working together to leverage our strengths and this grant provides an additional vehicle to help build broader collaborations.”

For more information about the I-69 International Trade Corridor visit www.I-69internationaltradecorridor.com .