The U.S. Department of Commerce released details today about the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 Budget request to Congress, which includes $258 million for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support 21st century economic development through innovative planning, regional capacity building and capital projects.
Of this amount, $215 million is for EDA’s Economic Development Assistance Programs which includes the Public Works, Economic Adjustment Assistance, Partnership Planning, Research and Evaluation Programs as well as EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program. This balanced portfolio of programs gives EDA the flexibility to respond to various regional needs facing communities across the nation.
The budget also includes $43 million for salaries and expenses to increase EDA’s capacity to support the bottom-up efforts of the communities it serves. This investment will elevate EDA’s role as the key integrator of federal economic assistance grants as well as to allow EDA’s network of Economic Development Representatives to be even more active in the states they serve.
Alongside the $258 million provided to EDA, the Budget invests an additional $50 million in mandatory spending for a new competitive grant initiative. This program builds on the success of prior EDA-led activities to incentivize partnerships between Federal Labs, academia and regional economic development organizations. These grants will enable the transfer of knowledge and technologies from Labs to private industry to help create jobs and businesses.
Through its role as the economic development integrator, EDA will continue to lead on several of the Administration’s key priorities: the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Plus (POWER+) Plan and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). These two initiatives tap into EDA’s deep experience and demonstrated return on investment to support the integration of cross-agency resources to transform economies in regions across the country.
The President’s Budget reflects EDA’s core priority to support programs that strengthen American manufacturing, supports 21st century economic development and spur innovation and entrepreneurship in local regions and communities across the nation.
The President’s FY 2017 Budget invests $85 million to support distressed communities with their infrastructure needs that will help drive regional growth. The Public Works program is a critical component of EDA’s portfolio and includes investments in a range of infrastructure needs such as water and sewer system improvements, broadband capability, industrial parks, business incubators, expansion of ports and harbors, workforce development facilities, and multi-tenant manufacturing facilities. These investments, especially when coupled with soft infrastructure such as economic development strategic planning and network building, help distressed communities become more competitive in the global marketplace.
Regional Innovation Strategies
The President’s FY 2017 budget invests $20 million for the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to promote economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level. EDA will continue its successful Regional Innovation Strategies grant competition to promote and strengthen regional innovation clusters and to foster innovation-based regional economies. The RIS program has been met with enthusiasm from communities all across the country. Between 2014 and 2015 EDA received 341 applications for projects totaling $315 million dollars.
The President’s Budget also includes $35 million for Partnership Planning to support local organizations (EDDs, Indian Tribes, and other eligible recipients) with their long-term economic development planning efforts and outreach. EDA Partnership Planning funds support the preparation of Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) that enable better and more strategic use of EDA’s Public Works and EAA implementation investments, including Revolving Loan Funds. Sound local planning also attracts other federal, state, and local funds plus private sector investments to implement long-term development strategies. In this way, EDA’s Partnership Planning program plays a foundational role in helping communities develop important strategies that inform future economic development decisions.
Economic Adjustment Assistance
The President’s Budget includes $50 million for Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) for critical investments such as economic diversification planning and implementation, technical assistance, and access to business start-up facilities and equipment. EAA’s flexibility allows EDA to implement and fund place-based initiatives necessary to realize bottom-up strategies to catalyze regional economic development and prosperity. Through EAA, EDA is able to quickly and proactively intervene to assist communities experiencing or anticipating economic dislocations with innovative solutions.
Trade Adjustment Assistance
The President’s Budget calls for includes $10 million for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Firms Program. The TAA for Firms program provides direct technical assistance to firms negatively impacted by global trade. This program helps import-impacted U.S. firms develop and implement business recovery strategies to strengthen their competitiveness in the global marketplace, increase profitability, and create more jobs. EDA recently launched a competition to select the Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers who operate the program in order to improve efficiency and effectives. The selected centers are expected to be announced later this month.
For additional information about the President’s FY 2017 budget, visit: https://www.commerce.gov/news/fact-sheets/2016/02/fact-sheet-fy-2017-us-department-commerce-budget.