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Founded in 1802 as a gunpowder mill, DuPont grew to become one the world’s largest chemical producers. A global science company with products ranging from agriculture to textiles, the company now employs more than 60,000 people worldwide. Through this astronomical growth, DuPont has maintained its headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, a stone’s throw from the site of its first small powder mill on the shores of the Brandywine River.
For more than two centuries, DuPont has been the bedrock of Delaware’s very stable economy. Yet in 2015, that bedrock quaked with the news that DuPont planned to merge with Dow Chemical. As the year came to a close, DuPont announced it would reduce a majority of its Delaware-based staff by at least 1,700 individuals.
As the state’s economic development leaders begin the process of adapting to this new economic reality, EDA staff has worked closely to provide guidance and technical assistance. In response to the DuPont layoffs, EDA’s team of economic development specialists have participated in a series of meetings throughout the fiscal year to assist with the development of applications. In a state that has historically not qualified for EDA assistance under the agency’s economic distress criteria, EDA staff is now working with state and local officials to educate them on the economic development tools available to them as they begin to rebuild.