Washington, DC – October 6, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representative Mike Ross (AR-04) today announced that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will receive $800,000 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds to improve the University Park neighborhood that surrounds the school and provide employment training and job services for students and young people. Funds are provided under HUD’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities program.
UAPB will partner with TOPPS, Inc., and the Family Community Development Corporation to provide employment opportunities and on-the-job training for 30 teens and young adults at TOPPS Graphics, a graphic design company that is a subsidiary of TOPPS, Inc. Funds will also help the Family Community Development Corporation expand its Worker Enrichment Program that offers employment and professional development opportunities to adults attempting to secure work in the construction trades.
UAPB will award a portion of its funds to Jefferson County Community Development Corporation (JCCDC) to rehabilitate 17 homes in the University Park neighborhood in Pine Bluff. JCCDC will use funds to hire staff and support the operational costs of repairing blighted property. UAPB students from the School of Business and Management and the Department of Industrial Technology will be recruited to work with JCCDC on this project.
HUD funds will also be used to provide technical assistance and training to five residential building and trade firms that wish to participate in Pine Bluff’s University Park Neighborhood Housing Rehabilitation Program. Firms involved in the project must be certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. The UAPB Economic Research Development Center and UAPB Business Support Incubator will assist contractors with obtaining property, loan packaging, disadvantaged business certification and other efforts.
“I am excited that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is leading the way on this project that will create jobs and improve employment prospects for students and young adults,” Lincoln said. “This investment will also improve housing options for more than a dozen property owners in Pine Bluff. I commend the university and all of its partners for undertaking this effort to provide better housing and a stronger workforce in Pine Bluff.”
“These funds will allow UAPB to take a comprehensive approach to revitalizing Pine Bluff neighborhoods. By partnering with community organizations to create good jobs, strengthen the workforce, and improve housing, this project will boost the local economy and improve the quality of life for Pine Bluff residents,”Pryor said.
“Due in part to these tough economic times, too many of our communities and local neighborhoods have suffered,” Ross said. “These federal investments are important to Pine Bluff because they will help save jobs in the short term and help many Arkansans get back on their feet and find a place of their own to call home.”
“The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is pleased to continue its successful partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. We here at UAPB see HUD as a strategically vital partner in our efforts to improve not only the area that immediately surrounds the campus but the entire City and southeast Arkansas region,” said Henry Golatt, Director of the Economic Research and Development Center at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
“Over the years, through HUD funding, the university has been able to expand its impact and outreach and truly carry out its 1890 Land-Grant mission of providing answers and resources that address societal problems such as neighborhood improvement, housing, and economic development. Activities such as youth educational and cultural enrichment, housing development, community planning, as well as small business and commercial development have all been accomplished via HUD sponsored initiatives,” Golatt continued.
“The HUD- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program historically has produced great results. It is a program that must be continually strengthened within HUD and duplicated in other agencies. The programs and activities funded under HUD’s Fiscal Year 2010 program year will help UAPB as well as the other historically black colleges continue providing outreach services that are vital to any community. The program requires local partnerships and affords the University the opportunity to leverage its resources with the City of Pine Bluff as well as community-based partners,” said Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Lincoln, Marni Goldberg, 202-224-4843
Pryor, Michael Teague, 501-324-6336
Ross, John Dickerman, 202-225-0669