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May 2015

Success story: Rebuilding the Port of Galilee

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Rehabbed Docks at the Port of Galilee

What if there were no roads leading to Disneyland? Everything about the park would be exactly the same – the rides, the characters, the souvenirs, the churros – but there would be no easy and reliable way to get to the “happiest place on earth.” While it’s true that the park is the attraction, the road that gets you there is critical. Infrastructure isn’t exciting or sexy, but it is necessary. It plays a vital role in supporting commerce, but it gets none of the glory. In fact, it only gets attention when it fails.

Since it was established as a commercial fishing port by the state of Rhode Island in the 1940’s, the Port of Galilee in Narragansett has grown to become one of the largest working commercial fishing ports on the East Coast, providing fish and lobster to both national and international markets. It includes 38 docks and piers and is home to over 240 commercial fishing vessels. The Port supports hundreds of small to medium-size businesses that attract hundreds of employees and thousands of tourists each year. Not only does fishing support critically important industries in the Rhode Island economy, but it also enhances the state’s culture and quality of life.

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Highlight: Promoting Trade in the Pacific Northwest

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Trade Roundtable in Tacoma, Washington

Trade is so vital to any economy, yet the idea of opening it more widely is met with trepidation and fear. There are many misconceptions about what trade promotion means for jobs in the United States, and that is precisely why Assistant Secretary Williams traveled to Oregon and Washington last month with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help set the record straight.

The Trade Promotion Authority – or TPA – is a framework that will enable the United States to enter into trade negotiations and ultimately create agreements with other nations. Letting the last TPA - which was passed in 2002 - expire in 2007, has significantly curtailed the United States’ ability to be at the table when trade agreements are reached. The fact of the matter is that the global economy is moving forward, and trade negotiations will happen with or without the United States’ participation. It’s important that we take our seat at the table and help shape the policy and agreements that will have enormous impact on our position in the global economy.

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Spotlight: Infrastructure Week

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EDA Infrastructure Projects

America’s roads, bridges, sewers, water lines, and ports are crucial to its economy. They transport people to and from work. They transport goods across cities and states and facilitate domestic and international trade. Everyone can agree that infrastructure is necessary and important, yet America’s is in dire need of upgrading.  May 11-16 marks National Infrastructure Week. Now in its 3rd year, Infrastructure Week brings together thousands of stakeholders in Washington and around the country to highlight the critical importance of investing in and modernizing America’s infrastructure systems, and the essential role infrastructure plays in our economy.

EDA has understood the role of infrastructure in economic development for 50 years. In fact, the agency was conceived as part of the Public Works and Economic Development Act in 1965, which demonstrates that the two concepts have been linked for decades. Infrastructure improvements through our public works program have been central to our work from the start. Lately, the condition and importance of infrastructure is gaining wider attention. You know things need improving with comedian John Oliver spends 20 minutes of his 30 minute weekly HBO show discussing it (DISCLAIMER – inclusion of this link is not an endorsement of the views expressed by Mr. Oliver).

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Funding Available to Coal-impacted Communities under the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative

EDA recently announced the availability of $3 million in planning assistance to communities impacted by changes in the coal economy. These funds are made available as part of the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative, a new interagency effort to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector. To apply for this funding, please follow instructions included within the Planning and Local Technical Assistance FFO and the addendum.  And, stay tuned for another announcement later in May regarding additional grant funding that will be made available for coal-impacted communities.


New Administration Report: Exports Helping to Support Jobs, Grow Small Businesses Across America

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman released a new report last month that shows that the number of jobs supported by goods exports continues to rise in states across the country. The report also includes individual success stories, in all 50 states, of small and medium sized businesses that are using exports to expand their businesses and support well-paying American jobs. Data from the report show 43 states also saw job growth as a result of exports.  Read the full United States of Trade Report for more info.


EDA Helps Lead 3rd Americas Competitiveness Exchange Through the Midwest

On April 19-25, nearly 50 economic development and commerce leaders from 28 countries across the Western Hemisphere participated in the Americas Competitiveness Exchange, visiting hubs of innovation – including EDA investment sites – across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The week-long tour offered the opportunity for the sharing of best practices and networking. Participants now have the tools and resources to replicate successful economic development projects that promote innovation and entrepreneurship in their countries.


Commerce and Aspen Institute Launch Workforce Development Partnership

In March, EDA announced that the Aspen Workforce Strategies Inc (AspenWSI) had been selected as Commerce’s national partner to help accelerate efforts on industry-led workforce development. On April 27, Secretary Pritzker joined Aspen President and CEO Walter Isaacson for an armchair conversation to discuss the partnership and announce a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP will competitively select six teams from different regions, comprised of leaders in industry, government, education and workforce/economic development. The six selected groups will receive technical assistance and undergo leadership development through the Communities that Work Partnership, with the goal of strengthening their ability to boost skills development.


Commerce Signs Agreement to Promote Cluster-Based Strategic Partnerships Across the Atlantic

Last month, Commerce Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews signed a Cooperation Arrangement with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) to make it easier for businesses who are part of regional innovation clusters in the United States and the European Union to form strategic partnerships. Through the Cooperation Arrangement, Commerce and DG GROWTH will:

  • Build a collaboration platform based on the new U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry ( and similar EU cluster mapping websites.
  • Encourage cluster businesses and supporting organizations to voluntarily register on these websites in order to attract strategic partners across the Atlantic.
  • Conduct outreach in the United States and the EU about the benefits of and opportunities for cluster cooperation.
  • Organize matchmaking and networking opportunities at conferences and trade shows.
  • Exchange best practices on supporting the growth and development of clusters.

More Streamlined Application Forms Are Coming

In our continued effort to make our processes easier, we are in the process of simplifying our application process and the associated forms. EDA has issued a Federal Register Notice requesting public comments. The comment period is open until June 19, 2015. To provide comments, please contact Kerstin Millius.


New Economic Development District Training Available

The NADO Research Foundation has received funding from EDA to conduct a one-year training program for Economic Development Districts (EDDs) in EDA’s Austin Regional office service area. The goal of the program is to provide EDD staff members with the education and skills required to lead a high-performing EDD. In addition, the training program is an opportunity to create a peer network across the region that can add value to EDD activities long after the training program is finished. For additional information, including eligibility and how to apply, visit NADO’s website. image