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December 2014

In This Issue

EDA in the News

Message From Assistant Secretary
Jay Williams

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay WilliamsIt’s hard to believe that another year is nearly behind us. As 2015 approaches, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2014 and all of the great work EDA and our partners have embarked on. I think it’s safe to say that 2014 was an eventful year for the agency. I was honored to be confirmed as the Assistant Secretary and spearhead EDA’s efforts to support the Department of Commerce 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. To that end, EDA has made 648 investments in 2014, totaling nearly $240 million that support all pillars of the plan: innovation, data, environment, trade and investment, and operational excellence.

We have made incredible strides in implementing the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative and building our Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE). I encourage you to read about our efforts in greater detail in the stories below.

Thank you for your partnership in 2014. We have a lot to be proud of, and I look forward to an even better 2015.


Spotlight: A Banner Year for IMCP

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Session during the IMCP Summit

American manufacturing is experiencing a renaissance. Manufacturing jobs are highly technical, well-paid jobs – not the gritty factory jobs of yesteryear. Promoting manufacturing is a major priority for President Obama, Secretary Pritzker, and the Economic Development Administration, which is why the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative is so critical. IMCP is designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds by incentivizing the development of comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments. Through IMCP, the federal government is rewarding best practices – coordinating federal aid to support communities’ strong development plans and synchronizing grant programs across multiple departments and agencies.

In May of this year, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the first 12 designated manufacturing communities under the IMCP initiative. Of the more than 70 communities that applied, the 12 were selected by an interagency panel based on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential for impact in their communities, and the depths of their partnerships across the public and private sector to carry out their plans. Secretary Pritzker has repeatedly affirmed that the mission of IMCP is integral to the success of the Department of Commerce as a whole, noting that, “IMCP is a critical part of our ‘Open for Business Agenda’ to strengthen the American manufacturing sector and attract more investment to the United States.”

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Highlight: An Innovative Year at EDA

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Asst. Secretary Jay Williams and OIE Director Julie Lenzer participate in an Innovation Roundtable for Global Entrepreneurship Week

Innovation is a huge priority for the Department of Commerce. Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship is one of the five pillars of the strategic plan, and it permeates the activities across the entire department. In April, Secretary Pritzker chaired the first meeting of the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), which is a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

This year, EDA has made tremendous strides in its efforts to promote and foster innovation. In May, Secretary Pritzker announced Julie Lenzer’s appointment as the Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE). In the little over six months since Julie came aboard, OIE has worked to fill the 2014-2016 National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) board, launched a Regional Innovation Strategies program, and has emphasized the vital role economic development plays in fostering innovation.

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The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

In July 2012, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and other environmental challenges in the Gulf Coast region, Congress passed the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act). The RESTORE Act:

  • Creates a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund).
  • Outlines a structure for use of the Trust Fund.
  • Establishes the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council).

The RESTORE Act establishes the Council as an independent entity in the Federal Government.  The Council is charged with helping to restore the ecosystem and economy of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities.  The Council is chaired by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and includes the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Army, Homeland Security and the Interior, and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, visit


Register for the SelectUSA Summit

The 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit website has launched, and is now taking registrations!  The Summit will take place March 23-24, 2015 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Register as soon as possible in order to reserve your spot. Last year, we had participants from 60 nations, as well as local, regional and state EDOs from 48 states, 4 territories and the District of Columbia.  This year, we hope to have EDOs from every state and territory exhibiting at the trade show. Previously, only state / territories could reserve booths.  This year, any state, regional, or local EDO can reserve a booth.  Arrangements are flexible - EDOs can team up to share space.  That means that the trade show could fill up fast.  Because we were oversubscribed last year, we anticipate an enthusiastic response.  For further information, please contact Joseph Burton, 2015 SelectUSA Summit Coordinator at or


Don’t forget to get covered

It’s open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace! On the new Health Insurance Marketplace, insurance companies are finally competing for consumers’ business – and consumers are winning: In 2014 nearly 7 in 10 consumers who selected plans with tax credits through the federal Marketplace during Open Enrollment got covered for $100 a month or less.  Nearly half – 46% - were able to get covered for $50 a month or less. Don’t forget to enroll by December 15, 2014, to get covered or stay covered for 2015. Visit the website to see prices and plans.


Hartford and Las Vegas SC2 Announces Phase II Winners

On Monday, December 1, Strong Cities, Strong Communities Hartford announced the successful Phase II applicants who are invited to develop their economic development proposals into detailed, actionable plans. Beacon, Made at Swift, and Hartford Rocks were awarded $60,000, $30,000 and $10,000 respectively to create their plans, which must be submitted by April 20, 2015. On Wednesday, December 3, SC2 Vegas also announced its successful applicants who will advance to Phase II. A first place cash prize of $60,000 was awarded to “Build a Vibrant Las Vegas;” second place cash prize of $30,000 was awarded to a team of professionals from Gensler; and a third place cash prize of $10,000 was awarded to Strain/Stalk. Visit Las Vegas’s SC2 page for more information. Stay tuned for more info about how Hartford and Las Vegas are working to be Strong Cities, Strong Communities as well as for information about the winners in Greensboro.


NACo and NADO Launch Innovation Challenge for Coal Communities

Recently, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, with the support of EDA, launched a new partnership to support county and regional leaders in coal-reliant communities with retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions. Throughout 2015, NACo and NADO Research Foundation will host a series of three intensive, hands-on workshops designed to boost the innovative potential of coal-reliant counties and regions seeking to grow and diversify their economies.  Counties and regions are asked to form teams no more than five people that must include at least one county elected official and an individual representing a regional development organization (such as an EDD staff member) to apply to enter the program. The Innovation Challenge is open to all counties and regions in the U.S. that are economically linked to the coal industry, including those that are coal-producing and those that are home to significant concentrations of coal processing and related facilities. The application for the first workshop, along with details about eligibility and other FAQs, will be available on, starting on January 7, 2015.

  • First Competition: Application opens: January 7, 2015. First workshop: mid-April, 2015 in eastern Kentucky
  • Second Competition: Application opens: late May, 2015. Second workshop: mid-September, 2015 in Colorado
  • Third Competition: Application opens: late August, 2015. Third workshop: mid-November, 2015 in West Virginia

Urban Water Federal Partnership Receives Key Endorsements

More than two dozen NGOs including conservation and outdoor recreation organizations announced their endorsement today for the Urban Water Federal Partnership, a collaboration of 14 federal agencies that aims to boost local economies and create jobs by restoring waterways and their surrounding communities. EDA was a founding member in the partnership, and many of its regional offices are very engaged with its work. The announcement came as agency leaders, mayors, non-profits and others working with the Partnership convened in the nation’s capital to share best practices from 18 current Urban Waters project locations across the country. The collective NGO and association partners have pledged to align resources, funding and expertise to restore urban waters, parks and greenspaces; increase outdoor recreation; engage youth and residents at pilot sites; and create new initiatives or projects nationally or at the state or local levels that achieve complementary results. They will also be assisting federal agency partners with outreach and communications encouraging urban waters restoration, parks and greenspace conservation and outdoor recreation. Progress in the original 7 urban waters locations is detailed in the Partnership in Action Report (PDF) image