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September 2016

Spotlight: Maine in Review: Economic Development Assessment Team Strategizes for Long-Term Economic Growth

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EDAT team at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

From August 17-19, 2016, EDA deployed an Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) to assist Maine’s struggling forest-based economy. Over the course of the three-day tour, participating federal agencies, along with key members of the forest-products industry and local community development officials, traveled together to see firsthand the various components of the forest-product ecosystem.

The EDAT team engaged closely with businesses and communities that have been deeply affected by the economic transition and transformation occurring throughout the state. EDAT members met with local, small and large land owners and loggers, toured a saw mill and state of the art paper mill, visited a small woodlot, and saw multiple shuttered facilities, including a biomass facility and two former paper mills. The team also met with many community leaders to discuss the effects the struggling industry has on towns and communities, and the various approaches to grow their economies.

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EDAT team at the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

At the end of the process, EDAT members came away with a clear sense of the federal programs available that could provide much needed assistance. The meaningful dialogues and engagement during the three-day visit will be used to develop an action plan and report that will align specific federal resources and partnership opportunities with the ideas and needs uncovered during the visit.

View more photos of EDA's visit to Maine.

Success Story: Pacific Northwest Diabetes Institute

Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute logo In FY 2010, EDA provided a $2 million grant to the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Institute to fund the acquisition of new technology and upgrades of scientific equipment. The grant also funded instrumentation to support new hi-tech companies in their research facility and medical technology incubator. The project was intended to address severe job loss in the biotech and life science sectors in metropolitan Puget Sound, Washington.

After six years, the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Institute has indicated that the project has resulted in $500,000 in private investment, created 184 jobs, and retained 110 jobs for a total of 294 jobs. Several tenant companies were established and the Institute has also licensed product inventions to large companies including Eli Lilly and Merck.

Highlight: New Agreement with Government of Mexico Will Strengthen Cross-Border Integration

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Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, U.S. Department of Commerce and Enrique Jacob Rocha, President, Mexican National Entrepreneurship Institute.

On August 5, 2016, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, Thomas Guevara signed a Cooperation Arrangement between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and Mexico’s National Entrepreneurship Institute (INADEM). The agreement aims to facilitate the linkages of clusters in the United States and Mexico to form strategic partnerships across North America.

The signing took place during the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC) in Tijuana, Mexico. This meeting, which brought together entrepreneurs, government officials, businesses, academic institutions, and innovators from the United States, Mexico, and Canada, was an opportunity to highlight the group’s accomplishments and push for continued progress on key issues to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in North America. MUSEIC is a component of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, launched in 2013 by President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, to elevate and strengthen the bilateral commercial and economic relationship.

One of the achievements highlighted at the MUSEIC meeting was the publication of Mexico’s National Cluster Map, which identifies areas for investment and job creation, and enhances regional economic development between the United States and Mexico. The map is available to users around the world as a free, open website, and is compatible with the U.S. cluster mapping website. This project is the culmination of extensive collaboration between the United States and Mexico to ensure the maps can be used in a binational fashion.

During his remarks, Deputy Assistant Secretary Guevara applauded this project’s completion and underscored the value of the maps. “The introduction of Mexico’s cluster map is an unprecedented opportunity for Mexico to participate more fully in a global economy characterized by innovation, research and development, and emerging sectors. And, it is an even greater opportunity for North American countries to start to compete globally as one economic region. U.S. and Mexican communities within the border region have not always had the ability to leverage their assets, capabilities, and culture towards regional economic prosperity. Now, with the introduction of the compatible cluster maps, these cross-border regions will have an easier time identifying joint assets, increasing collaboration, and developing shared objectives.”

The President of INADEM, Enrique Jacob Rocha, pointed out, “The linkage of clusters in Mexico and the United States has been strengthened by the signing of this agreement to consolidate the strategic bilateral relationship and enhance the global value chain. This is the result of a fully integrated strategy that promotes the interchange of specialized knowledge to foster economic and technological regional development. In this regard, I welcome this initiative as an innovative mechanism to strengthen bilateral cooperation.”

The compatibility of the U.S. and Mexican cluster maps is just the beginning. The real work lies in getting stakeholders to use them as tools for investment, economic development, and job creation. Thus, through the Cooperation Arrangement, Commerce and INADEM will:

  • Regularly update relevant information about cluster developments in Mexico and the United States on the U.S. cluster map and Mexican cluster map;
  • Encourage cluster, cluster businesses and supporting organizations to voluntarily register on these websites in order to attract strategic partners in the U.S. and Mexico;
  • Conduct outreach in the United States and Mexico about the benefits of and opportunities for cluster cooperation;
  • Organize workshops along the U.S.-Mexico border with economic development organizations, mayors, and other stakeholders to teach them how to use the map and discuss best practices in implementing economic development strategies;
  • Exchange best practices on supporting the growth and development of clusters; and
  • Collaborate to jointly promote that other countries adopt cluster mapping and cluster collaboration as important tools for achieving prosperity in local, regional, and national economies.

Commerce’s contribution will be led by the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA). ITA has a global network of experts located in more than 100 U.S. cities and three cities in Mexico that give U.S. businesses access to services, such as counseling on developing an international business strategy and increasing brand awareness abroad, and connects businesses with new markets, business partners and customers. In addition, ITA provides easy access to information about federal-level programs and services related to business investment. EDA funded the development of the U.S. Cluster Map and registry, and leads the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and by preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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A Hometown Model of Economic Recovery: Vice President Biden and EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams visit Youngstown, Ohio

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Vice President Joe Biden and EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams walk through the revitalized Idora neighborhood of Youngstown, Ohio.

On Thursday, September 1, 2016, EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams joined Vice President Joe Biden for a walk through of his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to hear how the community has recovered after the 2008 recession. Assistant Secretary Williams, a former mayor of Youngstown, was pleased to showcase the revitalization of the Idora neighborhood, one of the hardest hit communities in Youngstown. Check out this live video from their neighborhood walk through.


Obama Administration Invests $38.8 Million to Strengthen Economy in Nation’s Coal-Impacted Communities

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EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams participated in a roundtable discussion during POWER investment announcement event.

On August 24, 2016, EDA joined the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (DOL/ETA) to announce $38.8 million in investments to help grow the economies in coal–impacted communities. These 29 awards were funded as a part of the Obama administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative to stimulate economic growth and opportunity in communities that have historically relied on the coal economy for economic stability. Read more.


Baltimore Launches New Entrepreneurship Center with EDA Grant

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EDA Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Julie Lenzer participates in the ribbon cutting of EDA-funded Raymond V. Haysbert Entrepreneurship Center in Baltimore, Md.

“There is no monopoly on hard work and dedication,” said Julie Lenzer, EDA’s Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We are democratizing opportunity.” City, state and federal officials gathered in Baltimore to officially dedicate the Raymond V. Haysbert Entrepreneurship Center at the Greater Baltimore Urban League. See coverage of the event.


Denver Region Hosts “Create. Challenge. Change” Economic Development Conference

From July 31-August 3, 2016, nearly 250 attendees from the 10-state EDA Denver Region (and beyond) attended the Create. Challenge. Change: Economic Development Conference. The conference was hosted by the Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District with planning assistance by the NADO Research Foundation, and support from EDA. Presentation materials are available for download here.


EDA Invests $3 million in Hanford, California for Next Frontier of Job Creation

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EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams and City of Hansford Mayor Justin Mendes discuss plans for development of new shopping center that EDA infrastructure grant will support.

On August 3, 2016, Assistant Secretary Jay Williams announced a $3 million EDA investment to the city of Hanford, Calif. for major a shopping center project to support jobs, revenue and housing opportunities. “This partnership with EDA moves the city forward and provides the next frontier for job creation in Hanford,” said Mayor of Hanford Justin Mendes. More on Assistant Secretary Williams’ announcement.


EDA Attends Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California Bi-Annual Meeting

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EDA team with the AMP SoCal IMCP community

“We are grateful for the work that AMP SoCal is doing through its IMCP designation to lead a broad-based consortium of 86 dedicated organizations that have come together to transform the Aerospace and Defense industry,” said EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams at the AMP SoCal Bi-Annual Meeting at the University of Southern California. “Through your focus, you have positioned yourself in the vanguard of the future avionics and aerospace industries.” During the August 4, 2016 IMCP community visit, EDA Assistant Secretary Jay Williams and team were welcomed at the SpaceX facility in Hawthorne, California!


Organize a Manufacturing Day Tour in Your Community – Manufacturing Day is Friday, October 7, 2016

Whether through a plant tour for community partners or an open meeting with your organization’s leadership and elected officials, Manufacturing Day is a great way for you to increase public awareness of the manufacturing industry. Please help recruit companies in your community to participate! This nationwide celebration of modern manufacturing has a goal to inspire and welcome the next generation of manufacturers. We want companies in your community to be part of this amazing grassroots movement. Visit to register your organization’s Manufacturing Day event and find tools and tips to help you execute your Manufacturing Day event. image