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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $250,000 to Create Jobs, Strengthen Economy in St. Louis, Missouri

EDA Grant Rewards Performance and Increases Scope of Begin Center Business Incubator and Workforce Training Project

St. Louis, Mo. - U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez today presented a $250,000 Economic Development Administration (EDA) performance award to the St. Patrick Center in St. Louis, Mo., in recognition of outstanding project implementation and outcomes related to EDA's investment in the BEGIN Center business incubator and workforce training facility.

In 2006, a $3.5 million EDA grant helped renovate the St. Patrick Center to create the BEGIN Center to empower low-income and homeless clients to find meaningful employment.

With this performance award, St. Patrick Center plans to enhance programs in the BEGIN Center small business incubator by funding the new Culinary Suite. St. Patrick Center anticipates that by 2011, 22 incubator companies will be working within the New Venture Center, with annualized revenues of $1.9 million and 44 employees, many of whom will be former St. Patrick Center clients.

"The Economic Development Administration is committed to achieving results in creating higher-skill, higher-wage jobs. Rewarding superior performance in the economic development projects we support is critical," said Assistant Secretary Fernandez. "I congratulate the St. Patrick Center for being an innovative leader in creating economic opportunity in the St. Louis region."

"I couldn't be happier that St. Louis is going to benefit from this federal funding. In a time of economic hardship, programs like St. Patrick's Center are helping people get back on their feet and make a new start in a way that will benefit the local economy," said U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

"The St Patrick Center rebuilds lives and invests in the human potential of everyone it helps. I am very proud of their work, and I'm honored to support this well-deserved grant to promote small business growth and workforce training," said U.S. Congressman Lacy Clay.

"The current, unprecedented challenges facing our communities must be met with innovative public/private partnerships. The U.S. Department of Commerce understands the value of investing in community organizations that can create economic opportunities and comprehensive approaches to recovery," said Dan Buck, CEO, St. Patrick Center.

EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that partners with distressed communities throughout the United States to foster economic growth and job creation. Its mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness and preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy.

St. Patrick Center provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Individuals achieve permanent, positive changes in their lives through affordable housing, sound mental health, employment and financial stability.

Additional information on how EDA programs are helping distressed communities create a positive and sustainable economic future can be accessed at: http://www.eda.gov.