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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests in Infrastructure and Workforce Training Efforts in California Opportunity Zones

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $7.3 million in the state of California to help build and repair critical infrastructure and advance workforce training efforts. The grants, to be located in or to serve Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1 million in local funds and are expected to help create or retain more than 500 jobs.

“President Trump is committed to rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure and reskilling America’s workforce to grow industry both around the country and in specially designated Opportunity Zones,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

“EDA is encouraging our economic development partners to think of Opportunity Zone investment as a new arrow in their quiver to not only enhance ROI for business interests, but also to encourage the public/private partnerships needed to drive private investment to distressed areas,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “Our Opportunity Zone investment in these California communities can magnify local economic development and job creation goals.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • Mariposa County will receive $6.29 million to repair and improve road, water, and sewer infrastructure in a commercial area to help businesses withstand and recover from storms, flooding, and mudslides. The grant is expected to help create 52 jobs.
  • The Stanislaus Business Alliance of Modesto, California, will receive $980,753 to purchase equipment required to train students in machining, manufacturing and other skills at Modesto Junior College and the VOLT Institute. The project will provide students with the skills needed to fill high-demand jobs in the local agricultural, and manufacturing industries. The grant, to be matched with $1 million in local funds, is expected to help create 20 jobs and retain 453 jobs.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires, and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

Both projects are being invested in designated Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones were created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
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.

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