Press Release
May 2, 2023

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $4.3 Million to Boost Business Growth and Workforce Development in Arkansas

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $4.3 million in the state of Arkansas to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to support business growth and workforce development.

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • Pulaski County will receive a $3 million EDA grant to extend rail service to support manufacturing business growth at the Port of Little Rock. The project will be matched with $952,690 in state funds and is expected to create 542 jobs and generate $397 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.
  • Shorter College Inc., North Little Rock, will receive a $1.3 million EDA grant for development of the Entrepreneurial Technology Center to prepare students for in-demand jobs in the region. The project will be matched with $600,000 in local funds and is expected to create 864 jobs, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden is committed to making sure communities get the resources they need to diversify and boost their local economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These EDA investments will grow the manufacturing industry in the Little Rock region, create hundreds of jobs, and ensure local workers have the skills they need to get good-paying jobs in Arkansas.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-led strategies designed to create economic opportunity,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “EDA is pleased to assist the Little Rock region in growing local businesses and training programs, supporting a diverse regional workforce and creating new opportunities for workers.”

“These EDA funds are an investment in Arkansas’s economy. By delivering this support we can better meet the needs of local businesses and ensure our workforce has the specialized skills and training for in-demand jobs to accelerate growth and development well into the future,” said Senator John Boozman.

“I am pleased that the Economic Development Administration is continuing to support business development in Arkansas,” said Congressman French Hill (AR-02). “These investments in the Little Rock region will help bolster economic growth in our area and create more job opportunities in our community.”

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.