UConn Legal Initiative Receives $100,000 Grant
By Alison Thompson, Office of University Communications
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Connecticut Urban Legal
Initiative (CULI), which is affiliated with and housed at
the University of Connecticut School of Law,
has received a $100,000 grant from the federal Economic
Development Administration to help revitalize Hartford.
The grant, together with a $5,000 matching grant from
the MassMutual Foundation and in-kind contributions from
several local public authorities, will help
finance CULI's work with a task force devoted to implementing
economic development in the greater Hartford area, says
William Breetz, CULI's president
and executive director, and an adjunct professor of law. The
Regional Economic Development Council is made up of
leaders of major organizations in the
region, labor leaders, executives from local companies
and area lawmakers.
"The goal is to support and strengthen the region's
economic development through the efforts of a broad,
high-level group of local leaders with access to
unique federal resources," Breetz says. "The task force
is likely to focus on a few strategic projects in the region
which will have broad impact throughout
The council, which held its first meeting in August,
is the brainchild of U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, who Breetz
says encouraged several federal agencies to
assist in the effort. CULI, which provides legal services to
nonprofit groups engaged in reducing urban blight, will
provide staff and support for the group.
According to Breetz, the Hartford initiative is
based on a model used by the federal Department
of Defense in communities where military base closings have
resulted in high unemployment rates and related problems.
Breetz is particularly interested in finding
consultants who can explain how to adapt the
Department of Defense's experiences to Hartford.
Another goal is to make the oft-discussed science and
technology park in East Hartford a reality.
"The idea is to find major opportunities to create
new, well-paying jobs," Breetz says.
As a result of high-profile layoffs at Pratt &
Whitney, the withdrawal of financial services corporations
and the demise of Colt's Manufacturing Co., the
area's economic engines are changing, Breetz says. The
council wants to focus on workplace efforts and employment
opportunities in the region.
"We're losing a base of local, committed businesspeople,"
Breetz says. "How do you build on that?"
Breetz also wants to find ways to work in cooperation with
other relevant graduate schools and programs at the University.
"The University of Connecticut is a unique resource in our
state which our tax dollars have supported," says Breetz.
"If we can successfully build an
interdisciplinary alliance of relevant expertise at the University
as they relate to building new forms of technology training to
benefit the state's employers and
employees we will have once again repaid the state's
taxpayers for their support of this singular institution."
December 2000 Releases
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