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Rep. Bill Shuster Presents Grants to Expand JCEL Facility

(Posted October 22, 2007)

From left, Rep. Bill Shuster, Patricia Sheetz, director of the Economic Development Administration, and Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata, pose with one of the grant checks

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- U.S. Representative William Shuster (R-9th) presented Juniata College grants totaling $952,000 to expand the Sill Business Incubator within the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Rep. Shuster presented the two grants to representatives from Juniata College, the Huntingdon community, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Oct. 19 at the JCEL building, which is housed in the former Alfarata Elementary School at the corner of 14th and Moore streets. \"The announcement of these grants will make a huge positive impact on the economy of Huntingdon County and its surrounding areas,\" Shuster said. \"The decision to make an investment of this size shows that central Pennsylvania is primed for economic investment.\" \"I want to thank Juniata College, the Economic Development Administration, and the Appalachian Regional Commission for their continued support and dedication to our area,\" Shuster added. \"Their help in this project will create jobs and a better standard of living for the people of Huntingdon County.\" \"Business incubators serve an important purpose to emerging and \'second-stage\' small businesses, which are poised to take the next step into becoming a large company,\" Shuster said. \"Companies like these can use the incubator to develop strategies, test markets and share information with their industry peers and succeed in today\'s dynamic economy.\" Juniata will receive $200,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, coupled with a grant for $752,000 from the Economic Development Administration, to renovate the first floor of the JCEL facility. The grants will be used to renovate the rest of the entire first floor of the facility, turning former classrooms into 8,570 feet of office and floor space available to start-up businesses. The renovation, scheduled to be completed in 2009, will create sufficient space for nine full-time business enterprises and allow for five part-time (or hotel-style) tenants. According to JCEL projections, as tenants who start their businesses in the incubator outgrow the facility and move to larger buildings in the region, the incubator can serve more than 50 new businesses and help create more than 100 jobs. Juniata will contribute $552,000 to the project. The incubator renovation also will feature the installation of two specially equipped \"wet labs\" that can be used for entrepreneurs pursuing business ideas in biotechnology. \"The federal grants to expand our business incubator will provide the opportunity to expand the economy of our region to our full potential,\" said Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata College. \"We\'ve already created nearly 10 student businesses and helped local entrepreneurs realize their dreams.\" \"The support we receive from these sources will further catalyze the growth of the entrepreneurial culture at Juniata and throughout Huntingdon County,\" said Dr. Michael Lehman, associate vice president of JCEL, \"The expansion of the Sill Incubator will provide more spaces for students and community entrepreneurs to collaborate and grow the regional economy.\" Lehman notes that the grants were secured through a partnership with JCEL and the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission. The construction for the project is scheduled to start in spring 2008. The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development. The Economic Development Administration is charged with promoting innovation and competitiveness and preparing different economic regions in the United States for growth and success in the global economy. The Bob and Eileen Sill Incubator houses the offices of JCEL and Huntingdon County Business and Industry.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.