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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests Nearly $1.2 Million to Train Entrepreneurs and Displaced Workers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a nearly $1.2 million grant to the Curators of the University of Missouri in Kansas City to purchase training software and equipment for the Free Enterprise Center. According to grantee estimates, this project is estimated to service more than 36,000 individuals in the first seven years of existence, including more than 2,300 displaced workers or workers who want to find jobs in STEM industries, which is a major industrial cluster in Kansas City.

“The Obama Administration is committed to helping communities develop a workforce with 21st century skills,” said Secretary Pritzker. “As part of the ‘Skills for Business’ initiative, the EDA grant announced today will provide training in cutting-edge industries for displaced workers and others in the area, making the region more globally competitive.”

EDA’s investment will help purchase “tier 2 equipment” such as the 3-D virtualization/visualization labs and the 3-D printing lab equipment for the Center. A major use of the Tier 2 equipment and software in the Center will be to train entrepreneurs, industry personnel, students, and displaced workers in 3-D technology and prototyping. According to the grantee, the UMKC Free Enterprise Center is a $16 million center that will provide a platform for invention, research, education, workforce training, new business creation, and job creation that will help offset recent reductions by local employers. The Center will also help to keep these workers in Kansas City and to supply workers to other STEM industries with high demands.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading 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.