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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce

Annual Report


Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Assistance To Coal Communities 1 $764,900
Disaster Relief 6 $4,120,000
Economic Adjustment Assistance 2 $1,339,600
Public Works 1 $817,726
Regional Innovation Strategies 1 $500,000
Technical Assistance 2 $205,180
Total 13 $7,747,406

The Southern Arkansas counties of Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, and Union, have experienced a resurgence in manufacturing. South Arkansas Community College proposed the construction of an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in response to industry demand for a highly trained and skilled workforce. The Community College works with numerous manufacturing and construction companies in the region to help meet their needs for skilled engineering technicians.

In September 2016, EDA invested $788,587 in Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to the South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, Arkansas, to fund the construction of the Hays Advanced Manufacturing Training Center on the East Campus to provide training, education, and foster workforce partnerships to meet the region’s current and future industry needs. The center will provide a first-class advanced manufacturing training facility designed with significant input from industry leaders to train workers in the economically distressed Mississippi Delta region in Southern Arkansas. Thus, the need for advanced manufacturing training will continue to grow in south Arkansas for many years to come.

This investment will create 152 jobs, retain 400 jobs, and leverage $150,000 in private investment. Advanced manufacturing positions in the area are projected to increase by 15 percent over the next five years. In addition to new hires, existing regional manufacturers anticipate significant vacancies due to retirements, increased production and expansion.