Rock Hill ‘innovation center’ gets $250,000 boost from state grant

The Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. is one of six groups statewide to receive the maximum $250,000 Innovation Challenge Grant from the state Department of Commerce.

RHEDC, with partners Winthrop University, York Technical College, the city and Comporium Communications, will establish the Knowledge Park Innovation Center.

The purpose of the center is to help residents and students understand and acquire the skills needed for the high-tech jobs at Knowledge Park.

Overall, the intent of the innovation center is to create a pipeline of talented workers to support the growth needs of targeted businesses.

“The No.1 asset we need is talent with specific skills,” said Stephen Turner, the city’s economic development director.

Technology workshops, summer camps for students, entrepreneurial competitions, seminars and experiential learning programs for college students will be funded by the grant.

Turner said the hope is the workshops and classes will be “affordable, if not free.”

The grant will fund a pilot project which Knowledge Park officials hope can become a permanent program.

Overall, the state awarded $2.4 million in grants to 14 organizations with plans to foster high-tech efforts.

Don Worthington