U.S. Commerce Department Invests $2 Million to Strengthen Workforce in North Carolina
Contact: Public Affairs Department, (202) 482-4085
Wednesday, January 7, 2013
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to the Pitt County Board of Commissioners in Winterville, North Carolina, to build a new science and technology training center. The center, which will be located on the Winterville Campus of the Pitt Community College, is expected to create 642 jobs and generate more than $190 million in private investments, according to grantee estimates.
“The Obama Administration and the Commerce Department are committed to supporting a talented and skilled workforce for today’s 21st century jobs,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The EDA grant announced today will enable the creation of a center to better prepare and equip North Carolina workers to meet the demands of jobs in the science and technology fields that are helping grow the U.S. economy.”
According to the grantee, the region has suffered from a decrease in demand for domestically produced products and has lost 5,300 jobs over the past two decades as a result. EDA’s investment in Pitt County will support the construction of a 75,000-square-foot facility that will provide instruction in biology, microbiology, physics, biotechnology, and engineering. The grantee indicates that numerous regional partners have expressed interest and support for this project, as they believe it will help increase the regional capacity in science and technology. Many of the businesses and industries in the region rely on these skills for their operations so increasing the science and technology workforce pipeline will aid local firms as they look to continue doing business and seek to expand in the future.
Workforce development and skills training is a major focus for the Commerce Department for the first time, and EDA plays a big role in supporting that effort. In November 2014, EDA issued a Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) for the Accelerating Industry-led Regional Partnerships for Talent Development program. The FFO is designed to find EDA a national partner that will work with the Department of Commerce to launch a regional learning exchange that will identify, promote, and expand on successful best practices for industry-driven regional partnerships for talent development. Additionally, the recently appointed members of the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) will advise Secretary Pritzker on the issue of industry-led skills development. EDA continues to support projects, like the one in Pitt County, that help communities develop a workforce with the skills that local employers need to fill jobs that are available now and in the future.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, 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.