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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests to Establish New Workforce Training Center in Houston, Texas Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $5 million grant to SER-Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast, Inc., Houston, Texas, to help establish a new workforce training center that will help develop skilled workers to support the growth of critical business sectors. The grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $2.2 million in local funds, and is expected to help create 6,000 new jobs.

“As promised, the Trump Administration continues to work diligently to rebuild communities affected by natural disasters, and particularly through infrastructure investment and workforce development opportunities,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The new workforce training center in Houston will provide strong workforce development programs in a variety of industry sectors - including telecommunications, transportation, energy, construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure – and special Opportunity Zone tax incentives will further incentivize investment in the area to help the local economy grow.”

The project will help SER acquire and construct a metal-style warehouse training center, eight education classrooms, three hands-on training labs, six office areas, and one large meeting area. The training will focus on industries involved in current recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey and future economic needs for the region. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD). EDA funds GCEDD 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 Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires, and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

The funding announced today goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Treasury Department resources page here. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
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.

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