Castillo’s Column: February 2022
Welcome to the inaugural edition of EDA Impact!
This monthly communication is designed to keep you up to speed on the important work that we are doing at EDA to support your locally driven economic development strategies and build a better America. I’m excited to note that ‘Castillo’s Column’ will appear quarterly, and I look forward to updating you on some of the work that we are most excited about.
February was a busy month! In celebration of Black History Month, we were pleased to spotlight some of our outstanding employees and community work. Check out the joint blog post we issued with our friends from the Minority Business Development Agency. We were also pleased to announce that more than 500 applications were submitted for the Good Jobs Challenge, including one from every state, territory and Washington, D.C. We look forward to making these investments later this summer and begin the real work to train Americans for the good-paying jobs available today.
This month, I also had the opportunity to get out on the road to interact and connect in person with many of our stakeholders and grantees.
On February 20, I attended the AUTM Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. AUTM is an association of over 3,100 university technology transfer professionals committed to helping bring research to life through tech commercialization. There, I participated in a fireside chat with AUTM CEO Stephen J. Susalka where we discussed the importance of university-led tech transfer that powers economic innovation around our nation.
From New Orleans, I traveled to the Lone Star State where I joined U.S. Congressmembers Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez to open the new South Texas Ecotourism Center in Laguna Vista. From there I visited the City of Brownsville where I toured an EDA-funded incubator that is supporting local entrepreneurs and engaged with local economic development leaders in a roundtable discussion on workforce development, supply chain challenges, and cross-border trade at the University of Texas of the Rio Grande Valley. You can read more on my visit to South Texas here.
As President Biden reiterated in his State of the Union Address, he ran for office with a new economic vision: to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down. I am committed to ensuring that the investments we make at EDA are made equitably so that all communities and citizens are given a fair shot to participate in our growing economy. I look forward to continuing to visit our communities to highlight these efforts.
Of course, while there is much to celebrate and look forward to, we must keep our hearts with the people of Ukraine at this critical time in world history. I encourage you to read President Biden’s statement on Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine here.
Alejandra Y. Castillo
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce
for Economic Development