March 18, 2021

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $4 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Boost Aerospace Workforce Training Efforts in Oklahoma

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Southern Tech, Ardmore, Oklahoma, to help build their Aerospace Airframe and Powerplant Certification Training facility. This EDA grant, to be matched with $1 million in local investment, is expected to create or retain 340 jobs.

“President Biden is committed to helping our workers gain the skills they need to compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will help Southern Tech establish a facility to house a new aerospace airframe and power plant certification workforce training program that will produce a new, highly-trained workforce that will meet industry needs and diversify and grow the region’s economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The new Aerospace Airframe and Powerplant Certification Training facility will provide the tools, equipment, and space required to produce a workforce prepared for in-demand jobs to increase the resiliency of the regional economy in response to the pandemic.”

“Building a skilled workforce is a key component to making Oklahoma a Top Ten state, so I am glad to see this federal investment in Oklahoma for workforce training,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “Our state’s aerospace industry continues to attract businesses from across the country and I look forward to Southern Tech’s continued growth and success.”

“The $4 million EDA grant awarded to Southern Tech in Ardmore will go a long way in helping build their Aerospace Airframe and Powerplant Certification Training facility,” said Senator Jim Inhofe. “This facility will help foster the development and growth of a qualified aviation workforce in Sothern Oklahoma, supporting an industry with an annual economic impact of $44 billion statewide. As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this will confirm Oklahoma’s leadership in the aerospace industry and support 340 skilled jobs.”

“I am delighted that Southern Tech in Ardmore will receive substantial CARES Act recovery assistance to support construction of the Aerospace Airframe and Powerplant Certification Training facility,” said Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04). “This investment will greatly benefit and improve Oklahoma’s growing workforce in the aerospace industry, ensuring that those wishing to enter the field are properly trained can be placed in relevant jobs. Indeed, this vital investment will not only ensure jobs are maintained, but it will bring new jobs to the Ardmore area and surrounding communities.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. 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.

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Oklahoma Development Authority (SODA), which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

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.