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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.9 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Expand Simulation Training Laboratory for Nursing Students in Springfield, Missouri, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.9 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Cox College, Springfield, Missouri, to renovate and expand a simulation laboratory to train nursing students on critical equipment so they are better equipped to assist patients during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will be matched with $470,480 in local funds and is expected to create 1,303 jobs.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to support our nation’s economy and create new opportunities following the impacts of COVID-19 through the CARES Act,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will allow Cox College to provide critical training to create a high-skill, high-wage nursing workforce, and the Opportunity Zone designation will further transform and grow the region’s economy.”

“This investment comes at a crucial time to help Missouri and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “EDA is pleased to invest this CARES Act funding to create a state-of-the-art simulation lab to provide necessary training to nursing students in Southwest Missouri and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will drive additional investment to the region.”

“Now more than ever, Missouri is in critical need of skilled nurses to help respond to COVID-19 not only now but also in the long term,” said Governor Mike Parson. “This grant to Cox College will provide much needed assistance in the Southwest region of the state as we continue working to overcome COVID-19, support our health care system, and recover our economy.”

“This investment is vital for training nurses at Cox College of Nursing in Springfield and preparing them for new protocols and best practices in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Josh Hawley. “After sending a letter to the administration requesting consideration for this grant, I am glad to see the allocation of these resources toward equipping nurses in this generation and the next.”

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 7, Secretary Ross announced that EDA is accepting applications for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit our recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

The funding announced today goes to one of Missouri’s 161 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development 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 Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

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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