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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Commerce Department Partners with Portland State University to Train Students for Work in Clean Technology and Other Industries

WASHINGTON - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $1.267 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Portland State University's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in Portland, Ore., to remodel and upgrade several science laboratories and train students for work in clean technology and other science-dependent industries.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez announced the grant today in Portland with Portland State University President Wim Wiewel.

"Supporting job-creating, innovative research and development at our colleges and universities is vital to our nation's competitiveness," Locke said. "This EDA grant will help fuel the innovation economy by providing state-of-the-art equipment needed to conduct basic and applied research and prepare PSU students for jobs in the emerging clean technology and other industries."

"I want to congratulate both PSU and EDA on this award," said Congressman David Wu. "The resulting improvements to Science Building 2 will continue the advancement of Portland State University as a world class institution that trains the students of today for the high-wage, private-sector jobs of tomorrow." The federal funds will be used to purchase 175 high-efficiency fume hoods to be installed as part of the remodeling and upgrade of the campus's new laboratory space in Science Building 2.

"Over the next 40 years of their useful life these fume hoods will be used by tens of thousands of students," said Wim Wiewel, president of Portland State University. "The real payoff is the parade of scientifically literate, highly productive students who will graduate from PSU and secure higher-skilled, higher-wage employment in important regional clusters including healthcare, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and biotechnology."

"In line with the University's growing emphasis on triple bottom line metrics, this high-efficiency laboratory equipment will both increase the safety of the work environment and help to reduce energy use in the building by 25-30 percent, resulting in an estimated energy cost saving of about $300,000 per year," said Marvin A. Kaiser, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Portland State University.

In October, EDA announced the award of a $495,000 grant to Portland State University to develop and disseminate triple bottom line metrics for economic development practitioners and policymakers.

The triple bottom line concept expands on the traditional methods for assessing the impact of development activities in a region to include environmental and social variables as well as economic inputs. While the triple bottom line concept is becoming increasingly more common among corporations to assess their bottom line, it is still rarely used by local jurisdictions to determine the impact of economic development efforts.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov): This year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) marks 45 years of public service, with a mission of leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster job creation, collaboration and innovation.