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Blog Entries from August 2013

Secretary Penny Pritzker Announces $600,000 Investment to Support Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Louisiana


Secretary Penny Pritzker hears from entrepreneurs at Idea Village in New Orleans, Louisana Secretary Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $600,000 grant to The Idea Village, Inc., of New Orleans, La., to support programs that assist entrepreneurs in building their businesses and creating jobs. Secretary Pritzker is in New Orleans today as part of her nationwide listening tour, and made the announcement at The Idea Village after meeting with local entrepreneurs, mentors and business leaders.

The EDA investment announced today will support more than 300 businesses, according to grantee estimates. Specifically, it will fund additional technical assistance programs, especially in such growing fields as technology, biomedical engineering, and media production; help with expansion of The Idea Village’s successful “Entrepreneur Season,” a six-month-long program of business assistance and education; and support more forums, workshops, and networking sessions that will be offered during New Orleans’ Entrepreneur Week. EDA previously awarded two grants to The Idea Village – $800,000 in 2009 and $400,000 in 2011 – which helped the organization build their capacity to assist entrepreneurs.

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Commerce Announces $15 Million to Boost Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturers


U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced $15 million in U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants to support 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs) in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington that help manufacturers affected by imports adjust to increasing global competition and create jobs.

“The Obama administration is committed to providing communities with the resources they need to succeed in a global marketplace,” Secretary Pritzker said. “The grants announced today will strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. economy by providing funding for programs that help companies make improvements in such critical areas as advanced manufacturing, engineering, marketing, quality control, information technology, and market development.”The 11 grants include:

  • $1.3 million to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center

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Secretary Pritzker Tours Global Center for Medical Innovation in Atlanta, Georgia


Secretary Pritzker views a prototyping machine at the Global Center for Medical Innovation Today, as part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker visited the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) in Atlanta, Ga. GCMI is an independent, non-profit organization that works with universities, research centers, and investors to help accelerate the commercialization of innovative medical technology.

GCMI, which opened in 2010, houses facilities that local entrepreneurs can use to design, engineer, and build their products, and provides access to a growing network of experts that can help bring cutting edge ideas to market. The secretary toured the facility with GCMI executives and CEOs from two of the four startup businesses that reside at GCMI.

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Commerce Agencies Participate in Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force


Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, chaired by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, released a rebuilding strategy to serve as a model for communities across the nation facing greater risks from extreme weather and to continue helping the Sandy-affected region rebuild.  The Commerce Department made significant contributions to the Rebuilding Strategy containing 69 policy recommendations that will help homeowners stay in and repair their homes, strengthen small businesses and revitalize local economies and ensure entire communities are better able to withstand and recover from future storms.

The Rebuilding Strategy includes policy recommendations that will have a significant impact on how the region rebuilds and how we will improve our ability to withstand and recover effectively from future flood-related disasters across the country.

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Message From Acting Assistant Secretary Matt S. Erskine


U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine Dear Friends,

Partnership is in our DNA here at EDA. The success of our efforts is due to the hard work and co-investments of local and regional authorities, to the innovative thinking of the economic development community, and to the collaborative efforts of other federal agencies that have joined with us over the years. By working together, we leverage our individual strengths to make a larger impact in communities in need and regions across our great country.

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Q&A: Planning and Partnering in Pursuit of American Competitiveness


Photo of Joe McKinney, courtesy NADO Joe McKinney serves as executive director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 540 regional planning and development organizations. Prior to coming to NADO in October 2012, McKinney was executive director of Land-of-Sky Regional Council in Asheville, North Carolina, from 2003 to 2012. Under his leadership, Land-of-Sky became nationally recognized for its innovation and program expansion in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, aging services, volunteer services, and geographic information systems. Recently, McKinney answered some questions about the role that economic development organizations play in strengthening U.S. competitiveness and how they are successfully partnering with other organizations and the federal government to do so.

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Success Story: Vermont Furniture Manufacturer Rebounds with Help from EDA-Supported Organization


Worker at Newport Furniture Parts In 2011, Newport Furniture Parts, a family-owned wood products manufacturer located in Newport, Vermont, was suffering from declining sales and an overall lack of competitiveness in the market for wood furniture and components. The company’s chief executive officer, Dave Laforce, realized that management and staff were being stretched too thin by an increasingly cutthroat economic environment brought on by cheap imports. Newport’s long-established relationships with customers and the local community were suffering as a result. Realizing that these developments were eroding one of the company’s most important competitive advantages—its established networks of customers and workers—Laforce reached out to the Regional Wood Products Consortium for help.

The Consortium is a collaboration between the Northern Forest Center, a nonprofit organization, and the wood products manufacturing industry in the Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and northern New York. The Center helps businesses and communities in rural areas of northern New England and New York benefit from forest-based economic and conservation initiatives. In the wood products sector, the Center helps companies innovate to be more competitive and to safeguard the valuable jobs the industry offers in rural communities.

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Spotlight: Laying the Foundation for a Stronger, More Durable America


President Obama at Knox College, Galesburg, IL, July 25, 2013 In recent visits to Illinois and Tennessee, President Obama outlined strategies for strengthening America’s middle class by rebuilding public infrastructure, supporting the manufacturing sector, and training workers for the economic challenges ahead.

In speeches last month in Galesburg, Illinois, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, President Obama detailed his strategy for supporting job creation and U.S. competitiveness to benefit the middle class. “We’ve started to lay a new foundation for a stronger, more durable America—the kind of economic growth that’s broad-based, the foundation required to make this century another American century,” said the president in Chattanooga on July 30, when he spoke to a gathering of Amazon employees.

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Highlights: Secretary of Commerce Pritzker Launches Nationwide Listening Tour


Pritzker at New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, July 30, 2013 Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker launched a nationwide listening tour in July, with plans to travel across the country to meet with business and thought leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, and Department of Commerce employees.

“As Secretary of Commerce, my goal is to serve as a bridge to the business community—both domestically and abroad—so that we can work together to strengthen the economy and create jobs and opportunities for all Americans,” said Pritzker. “I intend to leverage the sum of my experiences as an entrepreneur, a business leader, and a citizen deeply committed to American competitiveness to help strengthen the Department and the government-wide leadership it provides in areas such as manufacturing, attracting business investment, innovation, and exporting.”

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Special Feature: How EDA is Supporting Critical Infrastructure in a Missouri City


Entrance sign to Perryville Industrial Park Building critical infrastructure that businesses need to thrive and grow ensures that America continues to sustain an economy that supports good middle-class jobs. EDA has been at the forefront of such efforts, most recently in Perryville, Missouri, where it is co-investing with the state of Missouri and local authorities to help pay for improved road access to the Perryville Industrial Park.

Industrial parks are the economic lifeblood of many communities, particularly smaller ones. The Perryville Industrial Park is an excellent example of this phenomenon, being home to an impressive roster of companies that provide good jobs for residents of Perryville and surrounding Perry County. These include TG Missouri, a manufacturer of automotive components and a supplier to such companies as Toyota, and Robinson Construction, a specialized builder of industrial and manufacturing facilities.

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