March 21, 2024

EDA Celebrates Women’s History Month

In observance of Women’s History Month 2024, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) joins other U.S. Department of Commerce bureaus recognizing the tremendous contributions of women  and the importance of ensuring equity and opportunity for all.

The EDA of today is equipped to help remove roadblocks and level the playing field because of the tireless—and often unsung—work of women throughout EDA’s nearly 60-year history. According to the International Monetary Fund, the complementary skills and perspectives women bring to the workforce have the potential to increase GDP by an average of 35 percent versus countries with high levels of gender inequality. Removing roadblocks to the success of women serves the vital economic security interests of the United States.

EDA is committed to ensuring the promise of American prosperity is equitably realized through its investments in people, places, and potential that catalyze the success of women in the American economy. Highlights of recent EDA investments include:

  • Creating New Career Pathways for Women. Across its programs and initiatives, EDA is working to empower women-led entrepreneurship and to create high-earning career pathways in professions in which women are underrepresented.

For instance, through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, EDA support is expanding the work of the Missouri-based Rung for Women, a workforce intermediary that convenes training partners and advanced manufacturing employers to accelerate the number of women in bioscience and adjacent technology careers.

  • Prioritizing Wraparound Services. The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau has identified that “comprehensive wraparound supportive services are essential to lowering the barriers to entry for women” into the workforce.

EDA is prioritizing the inclusion of wraparound services as part of its holistic approach to economic development. Recent initiatives include the STARS Training Program in Austin, Texas, which is supported through EDA’s STEM Talent Challenge. The program is helping students in its semiconductor manufacturing training program obtain childcare, while also offering competitive apprenticeships that provide paid training. Meanwhile, in their preliminary Phase 1 budgets, the Recompete Pilot Program Finalists brought forward nearly $100 million in funding requests to support local childcare ecosystems -- they identified this as a critical need to address prime-age employment for women in their communities.

  • Knowledge Sharing. Through a recent grant to the New Growth Innovation Network, EDA launched Equity Impact Investments, a program focusing on development and delivery of training and toolkits that disseminate knowledge of economic development best practices in serving underrepresented populations, including women.

These examples are among the thousands of success stories and policy priorities that reflect EDA’s impact thanks to the role of women in the bureau, as well as those served by our commitments to their future. 

Follow EDA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn throughout the month for updates on EDA observances and activities in celebration of Women’s History Month.