Defense Dept. awards SJ nonprofit $75M

Federal state and city officials announced Friday that a San Jose nonprofit received a $75 million grant for the design and operation of an institute to help create flexible electronics, the officials said.

The Department of Defense awarded the grant to FlexTech Alliance.

The nonprofit will design and operate the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the seventh of nine new manufacturing institutes across the country, according to the White House.

It will be the only one focused on flexible hybrid electronics, White House and San Jose officials said.

Flexible hybrid electronics are bendable and wearable electronic devices that could help people monitor their health, and among other things, assist seniors and wounded soldiers, according to the white house. They also could be embedded into roads, bridges and other structures, white house officials said.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement:

“San Jose is taking off. The $75 million grant to FlexTech Alliance by the United States Department of Defense represents another big win for our city.”

The institute will help develop products that the Department of Defense will use and may lead to devices that can improve people’s lives. The Internet and GPS technology came from other defense work, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

The institute is expected to bring jobs to San Jose and Silicon Valley, some of which may be good-paying jobs that help families join the middle class, Eshoo’s office said.

The private sector will invest $96 million into the institute for a total investment of $171 million, according to Eshoo’s office and the White House.

Friday’s announcement is also about the rebirth of the country’s manufacturing sector, Eshoo’s office said.

Forty percent of large factories closed their doors in the decade of the 2000s, but since 2010 factories have hired 900,000 workers, White House officials said.

The officials said the institute will help build on progress in manufacturing and build a foundation for American leadership in industry.