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SPOTLIGHT | How Tom Baron is Bridging The Gap Between Tribes and Resource Providers in Wisconsin

Photo of Tom Baron Tom Baron is an Economic Development Representative (EDR) with EDA’s Chicago Regional Office. He works with applicants who represent Wisconsin and the 11 federally recognized Tribes that call the Badger State their home. One of his responsibilities is to increase Tribal awareness of funding opportunities available through EDA and its federal, state, and non-profit partners.

To do this, Tom and a team of partners employ the Wisconsin Tribal Nations Toolbox, a series of meetings between EDA representatives and the Tribes. It was established by his predecessor, Lee Shirey, who serves as EDR for Michigan, and Gary Mejchar, Director of Development at First American Capital Corporation. The two had recognized a disconnect between the Tribes and resource providers, including, federal, state, and non-profit organizations. They created the toolbox to build connections and to raise greater awareness.

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EDA and its Federal Partners Celebrate Native-American Heritage Month 2022

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, This November, the White House, the Department of Commerce and EDA hosted a series of events in honor of Native-American Heritage Month, welcoming Tribal leaders to Washington, DC. President Joe Biden kicked off the celebration, issuing a proclamation upholding America’s commitment to our Tribal nations, just one month after announcing a new Tribal Advisor position in the Office of Management and Budget.

On November 15th, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland hosted a reception at the White House. They welcomed Tribal representatives and offered remarks in commemoration of the monthlong event.

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Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) Takes Place in Quito, Ecuador

ACE Ecuador logo Ecuador hosted the 15th America’s Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) from November 13-17, convening leaders from more than 20 countries and a diverse array of international organizations.

ACE is the premier economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurial network of the Americas and is one of the leading high-level events of the Organization of American States (OAS). The ACE program is one of the core initiatives of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) and organized in partnership with EDA, the International Trade Administration, and the U.S. Department of State.

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EDA Celebrates National Native American Heritage Month

National Native American Heritage Month graphic More than 20 years ago, Harlan Majors, the mayor of Philadelphia, Mississippi, observed that “our best industry by far is the Choctaw Nation. They employ not only their own people but ours, too. It has never been as good as it is now ... Our economy depends on them.”

Not just in Mississippi, but throughout the United States, Tribes, Tribal businesses, and Indigenous-owned enterprises are reasserting themselves as major drivers of the American economic engine. But the commercial success enjoyed by many Tribal nations and Alaskan Native Villages conceals a major contradiction in Indigenous economies that is underscored by shortcomings in individual economic empowerment. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, one in three Native Americans are living in poverty. Research suggests that “distinct institutional and policy features of Native labor markets create unique challenges that impact Indian well-being.”

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NDC to Lead New EDA Revolving Loan Fund Community of Practice

Revolving Loan Fund Community of Practice graphic With a combined capital base of more than $1 billion, Economic Development Administration-capitalized Revolving Loan Funds (RLF) provide a critical source of gap financing to businesses that cannot otherwise access capital through a traditional lender. Now, a new initiative is set to provide enhanced opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among EDA’s nationwide network of approximately 400 RLF operators.

This month, EDA’s Networks program announces the award of a $1.6 million grant to the National Development Council (NDC) to coordinate and lead a community of practice dedicated to building capacity among RLF operators.

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EDA Awards Research Grant to NGA Center and Oregon State University’s CORE to Measure Performance and Outcomes of Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Program

EDA Logo Through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) distributed $750 million to 185 grantees in regions hard hit by declines to the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries. Awards are currently funding a variety of initiatives designed to accelerate the recovery of visitor-based local economies with projects that include development of new park space, construction of bike trails, enhancement of cultural tourism amenities, and improvements to historic neighborhoods.

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Alejandra Castillo Works to Increase Tribal Participation in EDA Programs

EDA Logo Alejandra Y. Castillo is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce. As the head of EDA, she is responsible for fulfilling the bureau’s mission of leading the federal economic development agenda. As part of this, she is working to promote economic development in those communities traditionally underserved, including Tribal nations.

“After decades of disinvestment, our Tribal communities were dealt additional economic hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary Castillo. “In response, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and its Indigenous Communities program allocated $100 million specifically to help Tribal communities recover and rebuild.”

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EDA Awards Grant to Urban Institute for Research and Training in Support of Indigenous Economic Development

EDA Logo Through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the Economic Development Administration awarded more than $540 million to support Indigenous communities — including federally recognized Tribes, Alaskan Native Villages, and public and private sector organizations serving Native Pacific Islanders — as they rebuild and recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. This month, EDA underscores its commitment to Indigenous economic development with the announcement of a $1,466,493 grant to the Urban Institute, in partnership with the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) to develop resources and research designed to enhance the process of Indigenous-focused grantmaking as well as to deepen contact among economic development practitioners working on Indigenous issues. Urban Institute and NAIHC will also be partnering with a subcontractor experienced in working with tribes and providing technical assistance on economic development, planning, and housing issues.

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Entrepreneurship plays a key role in healthy ecosystems

EDA Logo November is National Entrepreneurship Month, and we celebrate all American entrepreneurs as we reflect on how we support and enable entrepreneurship. As technology innovators and entrepreneurs face their unique challenges and opportunities, EDA and the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) are committed to learning from the entrepreneurial experience and to continue to evolve our program design and delivery to accelerate technologies as entrepreneurs take them from the lab, to the marketplace, and into our lives.

The importance of entrepreneurs can’t be overlooked. Entrepreneurs identify and solve our most pressing problems, delivering products and services that increase our collective economic and national security, and our individual prosperity and well-being. They transform innovative ideas into new technologies and new markets and remain a steady presence in the daily rhythms of our communities’.

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EDA and Argonne National Laboratory Introduce the Economic Development Capacity Index

EDA Logo This week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), in partnership with the Argonne National Laboratory, announces the launch of the Economic Development Capacity Index (EDCI), a web-based, publicly accessible dashboard designed to assist economic development practitioners in answering the question: “How did an individual community’s capacities change over time due to EDA support?”

“The debut of the Economic Development Capacity Index is the culmination of another successful collaboration between EDA and Argonne National Laboratory,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Argonne data scientists, working with EDA economists and program staff, are setting a new standard for evidence-based, data-driven economic development.”

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EDA Partners With American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative and Northeast-Midwest Institute to Establish the Manufacturing Communities National Expansion Project

EDA Logo Over the last 18 months, the U.S. government has relentlessly focused on an industrial strategy designed to revitalize the nation’s manufacturing base, strengthen critical supply chains, and position U.S. workers and businesses to lead and compete globally. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is a linchpin of the government-wide effort to invigorate and sustain a historic recovery in domestic manufacturing, committing a major portion of its $3 billion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding toward catalyzing projects and initiatives leading to good-paying, manufacturing jobs.

This month, EDA announced a $1,528,016 grant to the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative (AMCC) and the Northeast-Midwest Institute to establish and operate a Community of Practice for ARP grant recipients and manufacturing cohort stakeholders: the Manufacturing Communities National Expansion Project. This initiative will bring together manufacturing cohort stakeholders and leadership in a collaborative effort to amplify and align best practices in manufacturing-focused economic development.

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EDA Taps University of Michigan and New Growth Innovation Network to Document Equity Outcomes of American Rescue Plan Programs

EDA Logo President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARPA) allocated the Economic Development Administration (EDA) $3 billion in supplemental funding. This investment is assisting communities nationwide in their efforts to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by accelerating the process of economic recovery and by improving the resiliency of local economies to future economic challenges.

In furtherance of EDA’s implementation of Executive Order 13985, which calls on agencies to advance equity by identifying and addressing barriers to equal opportunity that underserved communities face, EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) program this month tapped the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute (EGI) and the New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) to lead a robust, equity-focused research program. This project is aimed at identifying best practices of equity and inclusion in two of EDA’s keystone ARPA initiatives: the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and the Good Jobs Challenge.

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Tribal Nations Awarded Through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge

EDA Logo On September 2, 2022, President Joe Biden announced the 21 winners of EDA’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. It was the culmination of more than a year’s work, which began with 529 applications from all across the country.

Indian country was well represented among the awardees. The Four Bands Community Fund in South Dakota received a $45 million grant to accelerate the growth of the Indigenous finance sector. It will also expand economic opportunity in Native American communities through an alliance of nine Native Community Development Financial Institutions.

Oklahoma’s Indian Nations Council of Governments received a $39 million EDA grant as part of this program. It will help transition the region from its legacy of oil and gas and traditional manufacturing to advanced mobility, automation, and unmanned aerial systems.

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EDA Taps NGIN to Lead Equity Impact Investments

EDA Logo The Economic Development Administration (EDA) recognizes the need for more resources to improve underserved populations and communities’ representation in local economic development. Therefore, last year, we elevated ‘equity’ as our top investment priority.

Today, the Networks program announced the award of a $5.5 million grant to New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) to design and launch a new initiative, Equity Impact Investments. Established in 2018, NGIN is a nonprofit knowledge, insight, and innovation hub supporting economic development practitioners in advancing inclusive economic growth and closing structural opportunity gaps. NGIN is partnering with two organizations — Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the International Economic Development Council — on program development and delivery.

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EDA and RIPL Partner on Evaluation and Measurements Program for Good Jobs Challenge

Research: Good Jobs Challenge graphic The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $500 million Good Jobs Challenge is making once-in-a-generation investments in 32 high-quality, locally led workforce systems to dramatically transform America’s communities. The goal of the Good Jobs Challenge is to create workforce training programs in communities that will help workers secure jobs in growing, essential industries, and accelerate regional economic development following the pandemic. To further this work, this month, EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance program is announcing a $592,783 grant to Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL) — a national social impact non-profit based in Providence, Rhode Island — to develop and implement Return-on-Investment (ROI) metrics that will help a broad range of stakeholders, including policymakers, assess the Good Jobs Challenge on equity outcomes. This grant is funded through EDA’s ARPA Research and Networks Funding Opportunity.

As part of the EDA-funded research grant, RIPL will develop and use algorithmic models to assess program outcomes of the Good Jobs Challenge on a regional and national scale. Measurements calculated by RIPL will determine gains in expected earnings for participants in each of the 32 training programs supported by the Challenge, allowing a quantitative measure of the impacts the initiative has on underserved communities.

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SSTI Tapped to Lead Community of Practice Dedicated to Advancing Technology-Based Economic Development

EDA Communities of Practice: Economic Development Districts graphic The United States economy is built on innovation, a fact affirmed in 2009 with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which set out to provide “investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances.” The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act further committed the United States to the development of an economy primed to lead in the global marketplace through the creation of new industries and the application of cutting-edge technology in traditional enterprises.

As part of its enduring commitment to support the entrepreneurs and startups responsible for creating the high-skilled, good-paying jobs of the future, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) this month announced the award of a $3.5 million grant to SSTI to coordinate and lead a Community of Practice (CoP) dedicated to building the capacity of EDA grantees for technology-based economic development.

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EDA and NADO Research Foundation Establish Economic Development District Community of Practice

EDA Communities of Practice: Economic Development Districts graphic Since designating the first Economic Development District (EDD) in 1969, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) network of EDDs has grown to more than 390. These locally governed, multi-jurisdictional entities are both critical drivers of regional planning efforts, and important interlocutors between the federal government and local communities.

This month, EDA’s Networks program announced the award of a $5.4 million grant to the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation (NADO RF) to establish and manage an EDD Community of Practice (CoP). The new EDD CoP will promote information sharing, training, and peer-to-peer learning among the nation’s EDDs.

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EDA Awards $3 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funding for Transformative Economic Development Projects Across the Country

EDA Awards $3 Billion in American Rescue Plan Funding In March of 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. This historic legislation was designed to enable American communities to respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. In the American Rescue Plan, Congress allocated an unprecedented $3 billion to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in supplemental one-time funding and required EDA to disburse all awards by September 30, 2022, in order to meet the urgent needs of American communities.

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FEMA and EDA Release New Resource to Align Community Plans and Build Resilience

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Hal Williams greets an attendee at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza in 1978. A new resource will help economic development and hazard mitigation planners achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and Hazard Mitigation Plan Alignment Guide connects economic development and hazard mitigation plans so communities can be more resilient from natural hazards. The guide was a collaboration between FEMA and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Communities, states and federal officials can use the guide when preparing or reviewing FEMA Hazard Mitigation Plans and EDA Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS). Included in the guide are strategies to help align strategies with approved local plans.

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