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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.9 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Food Business Development and Workforce Training in Towaoc, Colorado

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.9 million grant to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Towaoc, Colorado, to support the Food Entrepreneurs as Economic Development (FEED) Towaoc project. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan’s Indigenous Communities program.

This project will provide workforce job training and entrepreneurship support for food industry businesses, while creating access to healthy food for the community. This EDA investment is expected to create 22 jobs and generate $2 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden is committed to supporting Tribal communities in their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will support growth of existing food-related businesses, attracting private investment and diversifying the regional economy.”

“Tribal communities were disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will develop a workforce training program to support new and existing food businesses, creating jobs in the community.”

“We are thrilled that the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe has been selected to receive funding to support entrepreneurship and workforce development. Our administration is working to grow our economy and create new good-paying jobs and these funds will make sure Tribal communities have the resources they need to grow and thrive. We thank Secretary Raimondo for her continued support of Tribal communities within Colorado,” said Colorado Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera.

“This critical funding from the American Rescue Plan’s Indigenous Communities program will help the Ute Mountain Ute tribe access healthy food and drive economic opportunity for workers, entrepreneurs, and families,” said Senator Michael Bennet.

“Restaurants and other food businesses are community centers, job creators, and economic drivers. This funding from the American Rescue Plan will help entrepreneurs in the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe grow their businesses and recover from the pandemic,” said Senator John Hickenlooper.

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. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30, 2022.

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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