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AEP Ohio Celebrates Economic Development Week with $122,000 in Community Giving

by on May 16, 2018
Jeffry Harris (left), president, Area Development Foundation, Inc., and Tim Wells, manager of economic and business development for AEP Ohio, visit an Ohio economic development site.

(Story by Scott Fuller)

AEP Ohio announced 15 economic development organizations who were awarded $122,030 in Local Economic Assistance Program (LEAP) grant assistance in 2018.

The announcement comes as part of National Economic Development Week, a celebration of more than 500 groups in the United States and Canada recognizing the work economic development groups are doing to make their communities stronger.

Awarded annually since 2005, AEP Ohio’s LEAP grants have provided more than $1 million funding to help local communities grow. The grants focus on retaining and expanding manufacturing jobs. The funds can be used for a variety of purposes including corporate expansion, employee retention, wages and benefits surveys, research studies and attracting new business.

“By investing in new workforce and economic development programs locally, we hope to spur job creation and opportunities in the communities we serve,” said Tim Wells, manager of economic and business development for AEP Ohio. “When these areas grow and thrive, it’s good for the people who live there and it’s good for our business, too.”

This year’s LEAP grant dollars will be used for a variety of projects – everything from business incubators to engineering and technology camps to industrial site preparation. Wells sees three emerging trends in the applications AEP Ohio Economic and Business Development received this year:

  • Workforce development. “With the overall economy looking good and unemployment down, finding workers to fill positions can be a challenge. Companies and communities are working to promote a career in manufacturing as a viable alternative to a four-year college.”
  • Site readiness. “We want to help communities get ready so that when a business does come knocking on their door, they’re prepared. It’s something we’ve promoted in the past and we’re really starting to see it get traction,” Wells said.
  • Makerspaces. “These are the next generation of business incubators,” said Wells. “They’re collaborative work spaces where people can come together to create or build their products. For small businesses, entrepreneurs and startup companies it’s a great option and we’re seeing an increased demand for this kind of shared space, equipment and education.”


In an increasingly global economy, local communities are continuing to think of innovative ways to tackle business obstacles. AEP Ohio’s support is a great way for them to get a leg up by increasing their competitiveness and readiness in a competitive economic environment.

2018 Winners

  • Knox County Area Development: CNC lathe for business incubator ($16,250)
  • Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development: manufacturing site prep ($10,000)
  • Grow Licking County CIC: multimedia campaign ($10,000)
  • Kent State Tuscarawas: advance manufacturing equipment ($10,000)
  • Lawrence County Economic Development: site marketing ($10,000)
  • City of Pataskala: land use plan for industrial park ($10,000)
  • Paulding County Economic Development: engineering surveys ($10,000)
  • Fairfield 33 Development Alliance: engineering and technology camp ($9,670)
  • McComb Economic Development: site prep ($8,500)
  • Wyandot County Office of Economic Development: multimedia campaign ($5,900)
  • Athens County Economic Development Council: makerspace ($5,000)
  • Defiance Economic Development Office: industrial site work ($5,000)
  • Van Wert County Economic Development: economic development website ($5,000)
  • Gallia Count Economic Development: two years of client management database ($4,660)
  • Lancaster Port Authority: manufacturing site prep ($2,050)


For more information, including how we can help build businesses in your community, visit the AEP Economic & Business Development website.

From → News From AEP

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