March 5, 2024

EDA Observes One Year of Equity Executive Order 14091

On February 16, 2024, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves joined Biden-Harris Administration leaders at the White House for the release of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 2023 update to its Equity Action Report. The report’s release coincided with the first anniversary of Executive Order 14091, President Biden’s second Executive Order on equity. Among its highlights is the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) stewardship of $3 billion in funding distributed to 780 diverse grantees — many of whom are working at the forefront of equitable economic development — through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

“President Biden called on federal agencies to advance equity by identifying and addressing barriers to equal opportunity that underserved communities face,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “These initiatives demonstrate EDA’s commitment to the realization of the vision of the Biden-Harris Administration.”

EDA’s commitment to the full and robust implementation of E.O. 14091 continues in current and planned programming, including:

  • EDA – working with the International Economic Development Council and a coalition of partner organizations – launching the Economic Recovery Corps. The Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) is a technical assistance program that’s creating a network to strengthen the ability of under-resourced communities to implement equity-attentive, locally driven economic development strategies. Over the next 30 months, 65 ERC Fellows will work with distressed and historically underserved communities to scale impact and drive change. The inaugural cohort of ERC Fellows are, themselves, a group as diverse as the communities they are serving and include nonprofit professionals, entrepreneurs, veterans, academics, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and passionate community leaders. 
  • EDA is investing in efforts to build the capacity of its partner organizations and grantees to deliver equitable outcomes in economic development through the Equity Impact Investments program. Spearheaded by New Growth Innovation Network, and in collaboration with several partner organizations, this program features a series of training courses as part of a transformative, multi-year program helping 120 leading economic development entities ensure the consistent and impartial treatment of all individuals. Additionally, working with Recast City and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, EDA is delivering an ambitious project focused on developing a cohort of Indigenous-led and Indigenous-serving Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) operators interested in adopting social impact criteria in their lending activities.
  • EDA continues to monitor and track equitable outcomes in its ongoing programs. Recently, EDA partnered with the University of Michigan’s Economic Growth Institute to document and elevate the efforts Good Job Challenge and Build Back Better Regional Challenge grantees are taking to advance equity and ensure strong outcomes for all communities. Their first report, “Three Spheres of Equity in Workforce Development Programs: An Early Analysis of Equity Within Good Jobs Challenge Programs,” offers an important and insightful look into equity across programming in the Good Jobs Challenge. The report indicates that the Good Jobs Challenge not only has elevated the importance of equity considerations but also spotlighted a model that tailors interventions to the individual needs of communities. A similar report on equity outcomes for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge is forthcoming.

Learn more about what other federal government agencies are doing to advance the Administration’s equity agenda at