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February 2018

Spotlight: EDA and HBCUs: Partners for Inclusion and Competitiveness

By: Johnathan M. Holifield
Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Jonathan M. Holifield, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities

Over the past several decades, the need to address the twin troubles of income inequality and staggering wealth disparities has gained considerable traction in the U.S. These worries are exacerbated and long-standing among those principally served by historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Since 1837, HBCUs have been educating and preparing, primarily, but far from exclusively, African American students – nearly a quarter of HBCU students are non-Black – to contribute to the American experience. Specifically, these institutions help shape good citizens, as well as fill the nation’s dual pipeline of productivity: providing diversely talented employees and creating employment opportunities.

At the end of the day, economic development creates conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life. Such conditions include nurturing new community systems or ecosystems comprised of collaborative institutions focused on advancing mutual gain for the public and the private sector. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (White House Initiative on HBCUs) are collaborating to explore and adopt new approaches to foster conditions for economic competitiveness for people and communities principally served by HBCUs.

Enter Inclusion and Competitiveness

EDA and the White House Initiative on HBCUs agree: America cannot reach her highest economic competitiveness goals without improved productivity of those disconnected from today’s economy – those largely served by HBCUs. Including these Americans in our nation’s best opportunities is no longer a mere talking point or sound bite. It is imperative if our nation is to retain its leadership seat at the head of the global economic table.

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Success Story: HBCU’s work to create wealth, builds healthy and sustainable communities

HBCU logo

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have made extraordinary contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of the United States while producing many leaders in business, government, academia, and the military.

Through the implementation of the Executive Order Promoting Excellence and Innovation at HBCUs, President Trump hopes that these institutions will continue to serve as important engines of economic growth, public service, and intergenerational advancement.

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Highlight: Operation Hope Expands Critical Business Empowerment Program

Operation Hope logo

EDA grantee Operation HOPE, Inc., a nonprofit public benefit organization, is committed to the revitalization of under‐served communities through the provision of economic empowerment, financial literacy, conversion programs and services.

To help people in these communities - many of whom have difficulty getting business advice and start-up funding - reach their full entrepreneurial potential, EDA has invested in Operation Hope to help them implement their critical business empowerment program, the HOPE Inside Small Business Empowerment Initiative (SBEI).

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NADO's CEDS spotlight logo

NADO CEDS Spotlight Case Studies Series

Through its CEDS Spotlight case studies series, the NADO Research Foundation is highlighting best practices and innovative elements of CEDS planning, development, and implementation from Economic Development Districts (EDDs) and other regional development organizations across the country. These six case studies span every EDA region and cover topics such as economic diversification, resilience, entrepreneurship, wealth creation, and more.


Incorporating Resilience into the CEDS: NADO Tutorial

Resilience planning provides a very workable framework to support building strong and prosperous communities and regions. This 20-minute webinar lecture covers the ins and outs of economic resilience, what it means, why it matters, and how best to incorporate resilience into your region’s CEDS.


Economic Development Integration Update

EDA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD), are developing a series of voluntary guidance tools that communities, regions and states can use to conduct comprehensive yet streamlined planning processes that satisfy the criteria for both an EDA Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and a HUD Consolidated Plan. The first series of guidance documents are available here. Questions can be directed to: edi@eda.gov.


Our 5 Most Popular Stories of 2017

Check out the 5 stories that generated the most attention on EDA’s website in 2017. These stories encompass EDA’s mission to create conditions for economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.


EDA in the News!

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US Department of Commerce invests $1.5 Million to make critical ... (TX)
Star Local Media (1/26/18)

City gets $2.1M grant to improve water infrastructure (MI)
HollandSentinel.com (1/20/18)

Halifax CC receives $2m to boost advanced manufacturing training ... (NC)
North State Journal (1/17/18)

Cox College receives $2.2M grant to develop nurse workforce ... (MO)
Springfield News-Leader (1/5/18)

Grant will help Prairie State College take training on the road (IL)
Chicago Tribune (1/5/2018)

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