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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Working Together: The Driving Force for Economic Success

December 2016 Newsletter

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams When President Lyndon Johnson spoke about creating a “Great Society” – laying the groundwork for the creation of EDA – he called on our country to “create new concepts of cooperation, a creative federalism, between the National Capital and the leaders of local communities.”

No agency within the federal government better embodies this notion than EDA.

At EDA, we have been supporting economically distressed communities for more than 50 years. While EDA does not invest directly in businesses, the agency works closely with local economic development officials to support competitive, bottom up, regionally-owned development strategies focused on stimulating private investment and creating new jobs.

At EDA, we understand that some communities need help developing a plan and figuring out where to start their efforts. Others need critical infrastructure that will allow businesses to locate or expand operations. It’s a continuum, and EDA helps communities at every point along the way.

We believe economic development is a more inclusive, comprehensive and sustainable approach that often results in economic growth, and is much more valuable and impactful.

It’s like the old Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Today, businesses have added 15.5 million jobs since early 2010 and the unemployment rate has ticked down to 4.9 percent.

We are proud of the work we have done – and the work that our community partners are doing - to move the economy forward across the country. We are particularly pleased with the improvements we have made to increase federal collaboration to better serve communities.

President Obama believes that to continue to make progress, we must continue to work together.

I joined the Obama administration in 2012 and have served as Assistant Secretary since 2014. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve our great nation!