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Annual Report

EDA Highlights for Fiscal Year 2013

As it has for nearly 50 years, EDA supports economic growth in distressed communities and promoted long-term strategies and projects that will provide the foundation for business growth and job creation for many years to come. EDA investments fund a broad array of activities, including those that strengthen the workforce, build key infrastructure, provide needed capital, support knowledge transfer, and nurture the social networks necessary to promote American competitiveness.

STRENGTHENING ECONOMIC GROWTH AND CREATING JOBS

Economic development creates the conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life by expanding the capacity of individuals, firms, and communities to maximize the use of their talents and skills to support innovation, lower transaction costs, and responsibly produce and trade valuable goods and services. Partnering with communities at every step along the way –from planning for the future, to making that future a reality– EDA is playing a vital role in facilitating the economic transformation of communities across the country.

In Fiscal Year 2013, EDA invested more than $360 million in 670 locally-driven economic development projects nationwide. These investments included approximately $263 million in construction projects that many communities determined would enhance their local economic development efforts. Grantees expect these investments will help create or retain approximately 67,000 jobs and generate nearly $3.3 billion in private investment.

BUILDING DISASTER RESILIENT ECONOMIES

Whether from fire or flooding, tornados or mudslides, disasters can dramatically reshape a community: in many cases, businesses and citizens leave, the tax base contracts, and the community faces enormous obstacles on the path to recovery. Such disasters demand a comprehensive approach. EDA’s investments extend beyond rebuilding in the wake of disasters. EDA’s ability to fund planning, capital, infrastructure, and technical assistance uniquely positions the agency to help communities revitalize, expand, and upgrade their physical infrastructure to attract new industry. EDA’s goal is not only to promote recovery but to create sustainable, economically-robust communities after major and catastrophic events.

At EDA, we strive to create new economic opportunities and to leave adversely impacted communities better off than they were before the disaster or disruption. In Fiscal Year 2013 alone, EDA helped 78 communities affected by hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods recover by providing $158 million in disaster recovery funding.  From replacing obsolete and vulnerable pumping stations in Stamford, Connecticut, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to rebuilding a workforce training center demolished by tornados in Joplin, Missouri, EDA partnered with communities from coast-to-coast to help them further their economic recovery efforts.

FOCUSING ON MANUFACTURING

Advanced manufacturing is where the future of American manufacturing lies. The sector includes cutting-edge producers in such fields as energy, medical devices, gene therapy, transportation, and aerospace. These manufacturers are successfully commercializing the latest advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and information technology, and even more advances in robotics and advanced materials are coming on line. Spurring innovation and entrepreneurship in ways that encourage the growth of advanced manufacturing industries is critical to economic development in all states and regions of our nation.

In order to strengthen our country's leadership in advanced manufacturing, EDA announced the Make it in America Challenge in 2013. By providing coordinated, complimentary funding from various federal agencies to promote the expansion of regional industry clusters, the Make it in America Challenge encouraged foreign and domestic businesses to build and/or expand their operations in the United States. Under Make it in America, EDA focused its efforts on helping distressed regions build on existing assets and create a competitive environment for foreign-owned and domestic firms to establish and grow their U.S. operations, and create jobs. In October 2013, EDA, along with NIST MEP, the Department of Labor, and the Delta Regional Authority, announced 10 organizations from nine states as winners of the Challenge who received $20.5 million in funding.

EDA also assumed a leadership role in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program, an initiative designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports. In 2013, EDA and other agencies awarded $7 million to 44 communities to support the creation of strategies that recognize these community’s comparative advantages as a place to do business, invest in public goods, and encourage collaboration between multiple different entities to expand the area’s commercial appeal to investors.

LEADING THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

EDA partners with entities to develop and disseminate tools on new and emerging economic development concepts that practitioners and policymakers can utilize to make more informed development decisions.  In 2013, EDA added to its already impressive cadre of data and tools to assist communities achieve their economic goals.

  • EDA worked with Georgia Tech Research Corporation to support an examination of best practices in promoting exports and attracting foreign direct investment. This study is available at http://www.eda.gov/tools/.
  • EDA partnered with the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School on the development of a U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry Web site, a new tool to help economic developers, businesses and policymakers better understand their regional economies, showcase their cluster initiative data to a wider public, search for appropriate partners across the nation and support best practices through stronger data on industry relationships. The tool can be found at www.clustermapping.us.
  • EDA supported University of Michigan and the Center for Automotive Research to expand the National Excess Manufacturing Capacity Catalog.  This successful pilot project identified empty and underutilized manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan a portal for access to the inventory of such facilities for companies that are looking to invest in U.S. manufacturing. This project took site selection to a whole new level by developing a searchable database of community profiles that highlight the physical and workforce-based assets of each host community. The portal is available at www.edastayusa.org.
  • EDA partnered with the National Academies on a study entitled “Best Practices in State and Regional Innovation Initiatives: Competing in the 21st Century.” Based on a series of workshops and conferences that brought together policymakers along with leaders of industry and academia in a select number of states, the study highlights a rich variety of policy initiatives underway at the state and regional level to foster knowledge based growth and employment.