March is recognized as Women’s History Month, both in the U.S. and abroad. It is a time to honor the generations of women and girls who came before us, overcame hardships, and strived for equity, equality and economic prosperity in communities across the country.
Michele Chang, EDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, believes it is important for all women to have a voice, noting that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, women make up fifty percent of the U.S. population, but only 27% are board members of Fortune 500 companies and 26% are U.S. Senators according to Pew Research. She feels strongly that in order to build back better women will play a vital role so that we can plan and execute projects that will build resilient economies to serve all Americans for generations to come.
Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women and girls in our economy and society. Assistant Secretary Alejandra Y. Castillo also sees it as a call to action; a time for all of us to be allies on the issues that impact women most.
“We need every voice for women’s empowerment, to dream and dream big without any impediments,” Castillo said. “This month serves as an opportunity to make sure that we not only support women, but that we also help that little girl see her dreams realized.”
Inspiring and empowering women has long been a passion of Castillo’s, having served several years as CEO of YWCA USA. In that position, she oversaw a network of more than 200 associations across the country, which served more than 2 million women and girls nationwide. It’s something she wants to continue as Assistant Secretary.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo traveled to the Lone Star state for an up-close look at EDA’s investments in South Texas.
On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, Castillo helped cut the ribbon on the new South Texas Ecotourism Center, joining U.S. Congressmen Filemon Vela and Vicente Gonzalez and several local leaders in celebrating the grand opening of the center, including Cameron County Commissioner David Garza, who was critical in the development of the project The project itself demonstrates the impact of placed-based locally driven economic development and the importance of EDA’s impact in communities across the country.
Building resilient regional economies requires specific strategies to incorporate equity, ensure effective governance, create competitiveness and secure commitments to action. To assist our Build Back Better Regional Challenge finalists as they continue to develop their strategies, EDA brought together world-class experts during a virtual conference that was held February 2-3, 2022.
While the conference provided critical technical assistance to finalists as they prepare their Phase 2 applications, the information that was shared can be helpful to any community that is working to transform their regional economy, create jobs or develop an inclusive economic development strategy for growth.
Due to the high volume of applications and interest EDA has received for its six American Rescue Plan programs, EDA would like to provide a status update on its $3 billion American Rescue Plan Programs. EDA strongly recommends any entities actively working on an application to contact their local Economic Development Representative (EDR) to discuss their region s availability of funds.
EDA seeks additional applications for grants to support research of EDA’s American Rescue Plan, which aim to strengthen regional economies nationwide and support economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo visited Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 27, 2022, to announce the eight grant recipients of the $2 million STEM Talent Challenge.
Castillo made the announcement at The Wistar Institute, one of the grantees and a world leader in early-stage discovery science in the areas of cancer, immunology, and infectious disease. She was joined by U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Pennsylvania’s 5th congressional district, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
The 2020 CARES Act catalyzed a major expansion of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) successful Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, EDA’s RLF portfolio boasted a combined capital base of nearly $900 million. The infusion of CARES Act recovery assistance helped grow the portfolio to over $1.5 billion.
Breaking regional cycles of poverty is a challenge for both rural and urban communities throughout the United States. The structural forces that have kept persistently poor places in poverty are complex, interrelated, and together poorly understood. There is an urgent need to identify and assess the root causes of economic marginalization in these communities to create better policies to help overcome the cycles of persistent poverty.
This month, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Research and National Technical Assistance program awarded a $500,093 grant to the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) to study the circumstances of, and investigate the factors that have contributed to, persistent poverty and chronic under-development in communities across the country.
Regional development organizations, such as EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs), have scored significant achievements in facilitating the recovery of their area economies in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. There remains, however, a disconnect between how regional and state economic developers align their strategies for economic growth to maximize impact.