Jump to main content.

A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Newsroom

Newsroom

Latest Blog Posts

Supporting Regional Innovation for Global Competitiveness


Assistant Secretary Jay Williams visited the Rutgers campus to announce that the University is among the recipients of the Science and Research Parks Development Grants, the last grants being issued under the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program (RIS) The world is changing at an ever-increasing rate. Companies and organizations that don’t innovate today may not be around tomorrow. The Obama Administration recognizes the vital importance of supporting innovation, and the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has been at the forefront of those efforts through its Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Today, Assistant Secretary Jay Williams visited the Rutgers campus to announce that the University is among the recipients of the Science and Research Parks Development Grants, the last grants being issued under the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program (RIS). Secretary Pritzker announced the recipients of the other two funding opportunities, the i6 Challenge grants and Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds, in March.

> Read more

Building a Brighter Future for Coal Communities


A Greener WorldA dramatic transformation in our energy economy is driving fundamental changes in the way we power our homes, offices, factories and communities. This means cleaner air, healthier communities, and new jobs and industries that didn’t exist two decades ago. But it’s also having a profound impact on workers, families and communities who have relied on the coal industry as a source of good jobs and economic security. There are many reasons for this transformation in energy – and there has been vigorous, impassioned debate about those reasons. But debates don’t put food on the table. Solutions do.

So, how can government - at all levels – partner with the private sector and civil society to help communities diversify their economies?

In Eastern Kentucky, a bipartisan collaboration between Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers called Shaping Our Appalachian Region or SOAR is showing one path forward. Wary of yet another task force or commission, the pair instead brought the entire community together to “reassess its current challenges, and discuss ideas or innovations already underway which could be leveraged or aligned to capture emergent regional development opportunities.”

> Read more

Counties and Regions Talk Economic Diversification in Kentucky


A Greener WorldLast week, a group of county and regional leaders convened in Pike County, Ky., bound by a common interest in finding new ways to grow their economies.  Based in communities that have long been reliant on the coal industry, these leaders came together to share ideas and learn about innovative strategies to create jobs and improve quality of life through changing economic times.

NACo hosted this workshop in Pikeville from April 22 – 24 in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, as part of a larger effort to support communities seeking to diversify their economies and create jobs.  Known as the Innovation Challenge for Coal-Reliant Communities, this effort is centered on three workshops, the first of which was the Pikeville event. 

> Read more

Challenging Communities to Envision their Economic Future


A Greener World As our economy recovers from the impact of the Great Recession, we have to remember that it wasn’t just individuals who were deeply affected; municipalities and local governments also suffered devastating consequences. Local governments saw a dramatic reduction in their tax base, forcing them to reduce services and think of creative ways to operate while providing services to their residents.

Today, we can gladly say that the national unemployment rate is 5.5 percent, we have reduced the deficit from 9.8 percent of our economy in 2009, to below 3 percent in 2014, and the private sector has added 12.1 million jobs over 61 straight months of job growth—a new record.

> Read more

Spotlight: Infrastructure Week


EDA Infrastructure Projects America’s roads, bridges, sewers, water lines, and ports are crucial to its economy. They transport people to and from work. They transport goods across cities and states and facilitate domestic and international trade. Everyone can agree that infrastructure is necessary and important, yet America’s is in dire need of upgrading.  May 11-16 marks National Infrastructure Week. Now in its 3rd year, Infrastructure Week brings together thousands of stakeholders in Washington and around the country to highlight the critical importance of investing in and modernizing America’s infrastructure systems, and the essential role infrastructure plays in our economy.

EDA has understood the role of infrastructure in economic development for 50 years. In fact, the agency was conceived as part of the Public Works and Economic Development Act in 1965, which demonstrates that the two concepts have been linked for decades. Infrastructure improvements through our public works program have been central to our work from the start. Lately, the condition and importance of infrastructure is gaining wider attention.

> Read more

Highlight: Promoting Trade in the Pacific Northwest


Trade Roundtable in Tacoma, Washington Trade is so vital to any economy, yet the idea of opening it more widely is met with trepidation and fear. There are many misconceptions about what trade promotion means for jobs in the United States, and that is precisely why Assistant Secretary Williams traveled to Oregon and Washington last month with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help set the record straight.

The Trade Promotion Authority – or TPA – is a framework that will enable the United States to enter into trade negotiations and ultimately create agreements with other nations. Letting the last TPA - which was passed in 2002 - expire in 2007, has significantly curtailed the United States’ ability to be at the table when trade agreements are reached. The fact of the matter is that the global economy is moving forward, and trade negotiations will happen with or without the United States’ participation. It’s important that we take our seat at the table and help shape the policy and agreements that will have enormous impact on our position in the global economy.

> Read more

Success Story: Rebuilding the Port of Galilee


Rehabbed Docks at the Port of Galilee What if there were no roads leading to Disneyland? Everything about the park would be exactly the same – the rides, the characters, the souvenirs, the churros – but there would be no easy and reliable way to get to the “happiest place on earth.” While it’s true that the park is the attraction, the road that gets you there is critical. Infrastructure isn’t exciting or sexy, but it is necessary. It plays a vital role in supporting commerce, but it gets none of the glory. In fact, it only gets attention when it fails.

Since it was established as a commercial fishing port by the state of Rhode Island in the 1940’s, the Port of Galilee in Narragansett has grown to become one of the largest working commercial fishing ports on the East Coast, providing fish and lobster to both national and international markets. It includes 38 docks and piers and is home to over 240 commercial fishing vessels. The Port supports hundreds of small to medium-size businesses that attract hundreds of employees and thousands of tourists each year.

> Read more

New Agreement with the European Union Will Strengthen Partnerships Across Atlantic


A Greener World Yesterday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews signed a Cooperation Arrangement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH). The agreement aims to makes it easier for clusters and their member businesses in the United States and the European Union to form strategic partnerships across the Atlantic.

During the signing ceremony, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted the Commerce Department’s commitment to supporting regional innovation clusters to help grow our economy, create jobs, and make small and medium-sized businesses more competitive in the global marketplace. He added that the agreement with DG GROWTH is a part of Commerce’s long-standing partnership with the European Commission on initiatives to promote trade, investment and innovation on both sides of the Atlantic.

> Read more

Spotlight: The Greening of Economic Development


A Greener World There was a time where people who wanted to grow their own crops or buy an electric vehicle were on the fringes of society. That has all begun to change. Doing things in an environmentally friendly way has gone mainstream. Restaurants can charge top dollar for serving sustainable foods from local farms, and Tesla can charge $80,000 for an electric vehicle – and people are paying it. LEED certification for businesses and homes has become a sort of status symbol. People are rightly demanding more sustainable and eco-friendly options, and that change is reflected in economic development projects and priorities at the local and federal levels at every step along the way.

The city of Austin, Texas has an ambitious zero waste goal and has undertaken a number of projects in and around the city to meet it. In July 2014, EDA awarded the city of Austin a $1 million grant to help build infrastructure for the Austin [re] Manufacturing Hub, which will allow recyclables to be transformed into new products locally. Currently, many of the recyclable items collected in the city are sent overseas for manufacturing, which uses significant resources for transportation and provides job opportunities for other countries.

> Read more

Highlight: Guest Column: Green Infrastructure = Smart Infrastructure


By Mia Colson, National Association of Regional Councils

NARC Logo As population growth continues to expand in suburban and urban areas, many neighborhoods are seeing trees and shrubs replaced by sidewalks and streets.  Increased development leaves less space available for natural landscape.  Inadequate vegetation reaps negative consequences for community livability.  Stormwater runoff, reduced air and water quality, and infrastructure costs all become major issues when plants and trees are taken out of the picture.  Green infrastructure and urban forestry projects provide cost-effective mechanisms for local governments to reduce stormwater runoff, meet environmental goals, and improve community livability. 

Although most people think about green infrastructure for its water quality benefits, green infrastructure has numerous economic benefits, including:

  • Increased Property Values: Green spaces can increase residential home values.  A study in Philadelphia found that when vacant lots were retrofitted with rain gardens and other green infrastructure, surrounding home values increased by up to thirty percent.
  • Reduced Infrastructure Costs: Public expenses for stormwater infrastructure are greatly reduced when relying on green infrastructure for stormwater management.  Green techniques typically cost less than gray infrastructure in cities with a combined sewer system. 
> Read more