Press Release
July 22, 2021

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Create a Workforce Training Facility and Community Center in Española, New Mexico

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, to renovate a former charter school to create a pipefitting workforce training facility and a community center. This EDA grant, to be matched with $250,000 in local funds, is expected to create 50 jobs, retain 20 jobs and generate $1.4 million in private investment.

“President Biden is dedicated to creating opportunities to put Americans back to work following the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Rio Arriba County will support job creation through critical infrastructure improvements to assist workers displaced by the pandemic, providing opportunities for well-paying, quality jobs.”

“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 investment will renovate the former Cariño del los Niños Charter School to create a community center and training facility for pipefitters to produce a highly trained workforce.”

“This new workforce training facility and community center will bring important new opportunities to Rio Arriba County,” said Senator Martin Heinrich. “This type of investment is exactly why I was so proud to pass the CARES Act to make sure we invest in a strong economic recovery in all of our communities.”

“Workforce training is critical for putting New Mexicans back to work and creating new, good-paying opportunities,” said Senator Ben Ray Lujàn. “I’m glad that this CARES Act grant funding will go toward creating a pipefitter training facility and a community center in Rio Arriba County – an investment that will help retain and create new local jobs.”

“Rebuilding communities is at the heart of our efforts to build back better from this pandemic,” said Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernàndez (NM-03). “This $1 million EDA investment in Española will help renovate the former Cariño del los Niños Charter School and turn it into a needed workforce training facility and community center. We invest in what we believe in – and the Biden Administration is showing that they believe in New Mexico and the potential of our workers. I look forward to seeing the great things that come from this investment.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District (NCNMEDD). EDA funds NCNMEDD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


  • CARES Act