A $600,000 U.S. EDA grant will help the Youngstown, Ohio region build economic resilience in the wake of GM plant shutdown

On April 13, 2018, General Motors (GM) announced that the 2nd shift would be cut, eliminating up to 1500 jobs. The cuts were related to declining sales of the Chevy Cruze (and compact cars in general) in favor of SUVs and crossovers. The last day of production was March 6, 2019. Subsequently, the plant was transitioned to an idled state.

The final vehicle built at Lordstown, a white 2019 Chevrolet Cruze LS, remained in the area and was delivered to a local Chevrolet dealership after making arrangements with GM to keep the vehicle in the area after a sentimental local GM customer requested it; the dealer made a vehicle swap with a dealer in Miami who was originally scheduled to receive the vehicle and was already sold before it left the plant.

GM is in talks with electric truck maker Workhorse Group to sell the plant, pending UAW approval. That will be good news if it happens, but local leaders aren’t putting all their eggs in that basket.

Now, on June 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $600,000 grant to the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments of Youngstown, Ohio.

The funding will help the region contract a recovery coordination team following the recent non-allocation of the General Motors Lordstown facility and the historic downturn of the coal economy. The team will work with local stakeholders to develop and implement a strategy to help the region respond to the upcoming challenges. The EDA grant will be matched with $150,000 in local investment.

This EDA investment and local matching funds will help Eastgate contract a dedicated recovery coordinator, and a supporting team of individuals, who will help the region chart a course to renewed economic dynamism,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming.

This investment funds the Eastgate Economic and Resiliency Project, which includes a dedicated recovery coordinator and supporting team to develop a strategy to guide the region’s economic development efforts. The team will work in concert with experts at Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development, an EDA University Center, to determine where the region should focus its economic resiliency efforts today and in the future.

This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

Featured photo (courtesy of GM) shows an aerial view of Lordstown Assembly in 2017.

See EDA website.

See Eastgate Regional Council of Governments website.

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