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Spotlight: Message from the Assistant Secretary

EDA Assistant Secretary Dr. Flemming

Hello Friends and Colleagues,

As the end of the year approaches, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the work EDA has accomplished over the past six months.

When I took office as Assistant Secretary in March, I was eager to start advancing President Donald J. Trump and Secretary Wilbur Ross’s economic agenda at the Department of Commerce. I am pleased to share that we have made great strides thus far.

In June, EDA added Opportunity Zones as a new Investment Priority. By implementing this policy change, we have increased the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to spur greater public investment in these areas.

EDA is proud to play a critical role in this important Administration priority by helping drive private investment into distressed communities to create more jobs for Americans and have a true social impact.

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Assistant Secretary Fleming, joined by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelly and Ja’Ron Smith and Ben Hobbs with the White House, announcing  that EDA has made Opportunity Zones an Investment Priority.

In addition, as of September 30, 2019, EDA has allocated $462,614,513 (xlsx) in supplemental disaster appropriated from Congress to help regions recover from natural disasters that took place in 201. We have also made available an additional $587 million in supplemental funds to help eligible grantees in communities impacted by natural disasters in 2018 and floods and tornadoes in 2019. This assistance is  helping American communities and regions hit hard by major disasters rebuild stronger, more resilient economies. We encourage you to apply today.

We are also proud to have recently published the FY 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs Notice of Funding Opportunity (PWEAA NOFO). EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs provide economically distressed communities and regions with comprehensive and flexible resources to address a wide variety of economic needs.

Projects funded by these programs will support work in Opportunity Zones and the overall mission of the Department by, among other things, leading to the creation and retention of jobs and increased private investment, advancing innovation, enhancing the manufacturing capacities of regions, providing workforce development opportunities, and growing ecosystems that attract Foreign Direct Investment.

In other exciting news, in October, I was pleased to join Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Dr. Walter G. Copan, and Acting CEO of the First Responder Network Authority Edward Parkinson to announce the Accelerate R2 Network Challenge.

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Accelerate R2 Network Challenge

Never is the link between public safety response and economic impact more prevalent than during a disaster.This $1 million grant challenge will help to address the nation’s most pressing disaster Response and Resiliency (R2) challenges with innovative technologies.

With a busy six months under our belts, we continue to serve our communities and we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to working with you to continue greater economic growth in 2020, and we thank you for your support and partnership.

John Fleming, M.D.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

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