|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||2||$320,000|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||1||$250,000|
In 2004, the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station closed, resulting in the loss of 4,763 jobs and $300 million in annual economic activity in the surrounding area of Eastern Puerto Rico. The municipalities neighboring the former station currently suffer an overall poverty rate of 46 percent and extreme unemployment averaging more than 13 percent over the past two years. The continued decline of the economy has led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to designate the municipalities of Fajardo, Ceiba, and Naguabo as the Eastern Puerto Rican Promise Zone. The Promise Zone designation’s purpose is the development of recommendations for creating shared growth in key industries and maximizing job creation at a regional scale.
In September 2016, EDA invested $120,000 in Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to support the Municipality of Fajardo with an assessment of the region’s natural capital assets and the development of recommendations for cross-regional innovation systems and mechanisms to generate public-private partnerships. The assessment contributes to the Innovation Strategy of the Eastern Puerto Rican zone by providing Fajardo with the information necessary to establish its regional relations, including through the Tri-City Partnership (TCP) Memorandum of Understanding. The TCP intends to facilitate initiatives between the three municipalities in the areas of research, development, design, human resources development, and education, among others. Over 10 years, the TCP is expected to spur economic growth, improve educational opportunity, leverage private investment, create jobs, and reduce crime in the communities by establishing concrete plans.