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April 2016

Spotlight: EDA 2016 National Conference Focuses on the Role of Government in Redefining Economic Development

“I was quite simply blown away by the conference: the sessions were relevant, insightful, and thought provoking.” - North Carolina

EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams opens the 2016 EDA National Conference.

On April 7-8, EDA brought together over 800 regional and local economic development professionals, non-profit and private partners, and federal, state, tribal and local officials to explore issues related to improving competitiveness, job growth, innovation and overall quality of life in communities at our 2016 National Conference in Washington, D.C.

Conference speakers included: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx; Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan; U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown; Jerry Abramson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Public Affairs, The White House; Mayor of Detroit, Michigan Mike Dugan, and Victor Hwang, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, The Kauffman Foundation, among others.

“The conference was one of the best conferences I have ever attended in my 30 years working in housing and economic development.” - Glenn (Richmond, VA)

The conference provided a forum for thoughtful and impactful discussions for economic development leaders to share best practices about what has been accomplished in communities and regions and explore plans for future economic growth. The conference also discussed the ongoing role of the Federal government in expanding opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship, creating more public-private partnerships, and ensuring our communities are becoming places that enable families to succeed and thrive through the Administration’s place-based initiatives.

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Success Story: Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission Helps to Drive Critical FDI to Rural Wilcox County, Alabama

ATRC logo

Devastating tornadoes that struck rural Wilcox County, Alabama in 2011 resulted in the loss of lives and permanent jobs when production in the region’s critical timber and paper production sectors was forced to cease for a number of weeks.

To help advance the region’s economic recovery and resiliency efforts, EDA, in 2013, invested $1.9 million in the town of Pine Hill to make water and sewer improvements needed to bring GD Copper (USA), Inc.’s specialized tubing and copper products operations to the county.

GD Copper is a Chinese firm that is adding to a growing metals cluster in southwest Alabama, which also includes such firms as Thyssen Krupp, SET Enterprises, Metals USA and JMC Steel.

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Highlight: Highlights: Fifth Americas Competitiveness Exchange Brings 51 High-Level Representatives from 24 Countries to Arizona and California

From April 10-16, 51 high-level representatives from 24 countries visited Arizona and Southern California to explore global and regional partnerships and economic development opportunities through the 5th America’s Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The delegation toured advanced technology centers, innovation hubs, public-private partnership ventures, and strategic investments in cities ranging from small towns like Gilbert, Arizona, and Vista Escondido, California, to major metropolitan areas like Phoenix and San Diego.


EDA DAS Tom Guevara and ACE organizers greet Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on the opening day of ACE.

In Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, the delegation learned about the cutting-edge work being done at the University of Arizona (UofA) and Arizona State University (ASU) to revolutionize the fields of optics, biosciences, medicine, business, technology transfer, and many others.

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2016 Regional Innovations Strategy Program Funding Available

On Monday, April 25, 2016, EDA released the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) and began accepting applications for the 2016 round of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program funding. EDA strongly encourages potential applicants to register for and attend our post-launch webinar on May 5, 2016, at 2:00pm Eastern Time to learn more.


University Center Competition is Open in EDA’s Chicago and Philadelphia Regions.


Madison Regional Economic Partnership Key America’s Competitiveness Exchange Contributor

The Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) is an important contributor to the success of the America’s Competitiveness Exchange program. The Madison Region was a primary host of ACE III’s visit to the Midwest. This successful event and the accompanying Madison program is shared as a best practice because of its strong partnerships, key sites visited, sectors featured, and stellar programming. It was also shared with ACE V organizers to help them prepare for similar success. In May, Assistant Secretary Jay Williams will celebrate the Madison Region’s collaborative and inclusive spirit as the keynote speaker at MadREP’s Economic Development & Diversity Summit.


MEP Competition Regional Forums Round 4 Competitions

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) intends to publish an announcement in July 2016 of funding availability for MEP Centers in eleven states. Find out about three planned regional forums MEP is planning in May (DC and Denver, CO) and June (Chicago, IL) to provide interested entities more information. For more information on the forums, including dates and specific locations, please visit the MEP Competition page.


NACo Podcast

Diversifying Economies in Coal-Reliant Communities: NACo has released a new podcast focusing on economic diversification and transition in coal-reliant communities.


Funding Opportunity

SECD set-asides to implement multi-jurisdictional plans: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is excited to share a new Rural Development funding opportunity authorized by Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill called Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD). image