Press Release
April 16, 2021

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.3 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Production of Personal Protective Equipment and Develop Related Training in Lowell, Massachusetts

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.3 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts, to continue the production of PPE and to develop related training and curriculum, creating new job and economic opportunities following the pandemic.

“President Biden is committed to revitalizing our domestic manufacturing capacity to keep our nation competitive and create good-paying jobs for the American people,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will support future domestic production and supply chain capacity and will help regional economies build back stronger.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA grant will allow companies that have adapted their manufacturing capabilities in response to the pandemic to retain jobs while maintaining the resiliency of the regional economy.”

“The Commonwealth developed a successful program to help several innovation and manufacturing businesses through the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team to pivot their operations and produce critically needed personal protective equipment during the pandemic—and this generous grant will further assist these efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for the manufacturing industry as Massachusetts continues to develop new and creative ways to continue the fight against COVID-19 and grow our economy.”

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, UMass Lowell and its MERT partners have made PPE stand for ‘promise to protect everyone,” said Senator Ed Markey. “This EDA grant is critical to expanding our state’s manufacturing efforts and ensuring that we have the necessary PPE and training for our Commonwealth to address any future biothreats that may come our way.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that to better equip the United States against future pandemics, we must boost our country's manufacturing capacity and make sure our states and communities have enough PPE, COVID-19 tests and vaccines,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “This federal funding will go a long way to support UMass Lowell’s PPE production and increase our supply chain capacity all while boosting the regional economy.”

“This CARES Act funding will provide a substantial boost to the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team 2.0’s efforts to aid the recovery of economically distressed communities across the Commonwealth, support businesses, and strengthen our nation’s pandemic preparedness,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03). “I was proud to advocate for this award alongside members of our federal delegation because we recognized that this initiative bolsters our current pandemic response and helps ensure that we’re never caught flat-footed by an infectious virus again. I look forward to seeing UMass Lowell and its MERT 2.0 partners – MIT, WPI, MassTech, MassRobotics, MassMEP, Forge and AFFOA – put this funding to use immediately to create a sustainable network to support the Massachusetts manufacturing and supply chain ecosystem.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


  • CARES Act