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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Blog Entries from August 2016

Commerce Employees Commit Time to DC Youth for MBK Initiative

Department of Commerce employees prepare to attend the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative Volunteer Recruitment Fair on August 17, 2016 With the busy schedules of today, it is hard to imagine being able to do more than work, eat and sleep. Yet, this month, nearly fifty (50) Department of Commerce (DOC) employees from twelve (12) bureaus committed to volunteering their time and talents to Washington, DC area youth at the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Initiative Volunteer Recruitment Fair at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. For several hours, Commerce staff spoke with representatives from more than 40 volunteer organizations about local volunteer opportunities to benefit young men and boys of color.

Prior to attending the fair, two leaders of the MBK initiative at DOC — Tiffani Long of the Economic Development Administration and Aaron Jenkins of the Commerce Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships — brought together a diverse group of their colleagues to express their thanks and give everyone the opportunity to personally share their personal definitions of mentorship and what inspired them to volunteer. The group shared powerful reflections as each person identified the reason they sought to volunteer to help others.

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Spotlight: Economic Recovery an Inter-agency Effort: Economic Development Assessment Team to Deploy to Maine

Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine announces $4.2 million investment and EDAT to Maine at the University of Maine. Over the last several years, a number of Maine’s major paper mills have closed, and thousands of hard-working Americans living in rural communities have lost their jobs.

In March 2016, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King sent a joint letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker asking for support from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help address the deteriorating economic conditions.

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Success Story: TruFund Accelerates Innovative Programs in Louisiana

TruFund supports minority and women owned contractors. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded TruFund Financial a $500,000 EDA funded/$500,000 match grant in 2014 to assist with small business development and growth in Louisiana.

In its two-year grant period, TruFund has launched a variety of projects which support minority and women-owned contractors in distressed areas of the state, with concentrations in the two largest metropolitan areas: New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

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Highlight: EDA Establishes Office of Economic Development Integration (OEDI)

Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews addresses EDI orientation.EDA has been designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the federal government’s official economic development integrator in recognition of both the agency’s successful management of cross-agency initiatives, and in recognition of the fact that it is the only federal agency whose sole mission is economic development.

The purpose of the Office of Economic Development Integration (OEDI) is to facilitate direct engagement between communities and multiple federal stakeholders to collaboratively solve complex economic issues. OEDI will connect communities to economic development opportunities across the federal government by serving as an internal resource to EDA regional staff who work with the agency’s clients on a regular basis.

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EDA Intern Spotlight: William Henagan, University of Virginia

EDA Office of External Affairs intern William Henagan. Over the last eight weeks, I have had the opportunity to work alongside a talented group of public servants in the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of External Affairs. EDA works to promote robust economic growth through innovation and job creation. It has been an honor and a privilege to work on these issues within the Obama administration.

My responsibilities ranged from staffing the 2016 SelectUSA summit, attended by the President, to helping write a speech for Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Guevara. However, I spent most of my time helping EDA prepare for the upcoming deployment of an Economic Development Assessment Team to eastern Maine. The opportunity to help EDA respond to a request for economic assistance redoubled my commitment to a career in public service. Every day I felt like my work took steps towards improving the lives Americans who recently lost their jobs. Further, my experiences working within the framework of an evidenced-based policy solution will prove invaluable in the years to come.

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