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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.6 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Maritime Workforce Development in the Northern Mariana Islands

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.6 million grant to 500 Sails, Inc., Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, to support maritime workforce development. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This grant will support the renovation and expansion of the 500 Sails boatyard that will house the Maritime Training Center, a vocational and professional training institute. The EDA investment is expected to create 76 jobs and retain four jobs, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan offers direct relief to American communities as they work to build a better America for the future,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide the critical infrastructure needed to expand training opportunities that lead to good-paying jobs in Northern Mariana Islands’ growing maritime sector.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will provide the infrastructure necessary to increase modern instructional programming in the maritime industry.”

“With the unprecedented pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress responded with unprecedented resources for the Northern Mariana Islands’ recovery through the American Rescue Plan,” said Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. “The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s approval of $1.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds for 500 Sails’ Maritime Training Center supports jobseekers enter new careers, the growth of local businesses in the industry, and the preservation of the indigenous seafaring traditions of the Marianas.”

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program, which allocates $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding specifically to support the needs of Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities. The program supports these partners to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future. Indigenous communities are also eligible and encouraged to apply under all of EDA’s other programs.

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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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