The Innovation Center is part of the Economic Development Administration’s University Center (UC) program. The UC program makes universities' resources – including research, outreach, and technology – available to the regional economic development community.
On Thursday, March 11, President Joseph Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law. This historic and sweeping legislation provides additional relief to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, public health, State and local governments, individuals, and businesses.
The ARP allocates $3 billion to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist communities nationwide in advancing their coronavirus recovery and resiliency strategies.
EDA is up to the challenge and stands ready to deliver!
Small businesses have always faced persistent barriers in accessing capital. This problem has been greatly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses have seen even greater inequities and challenges.
According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, 83 percent of entrepreneurs cannot access traditional capital markets, such as venture capital and bank loans, leaving many businesses unserved. 1
In 2018, EDA’s Lee Shirey helped organize the Wisconsin Tribal Technical Tour, which brought federal, state, and local economic development leaders to Wisconsin’s 11 federally recognized tribal communities. The goal was to connect tribes with resources that address tribal economic and community development needs.
As a result, more than $5 million in EDA grants were awarded to Wisconsin Tribal Nations. The connections to the other agencies also brought additional resources, technical assistance, grant money, and loan capital to further support and advance Wisconsin tribal development projects statewide.
This month, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Research and National Technical Assistance program awarded a $900,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the New Growth Innovation Network (NGIN) and sub-awardee, the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation (NADO RF). This project will focus on incorporating inclusive economic recovery actions into regional economic strategies through the development of a National Community of Practice and partnership with six Economic Development Districts (EDDs).
“The unprecedented changes witnessed in the American economy over the last 12 months requires us to examine adaptive approaches to economic development to ensure that no segment of society is left behind,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We’re excited to explore how inclusive growth strategies can help solve some of the economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.”
I serve as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Development Team Leader at the Commerce Department’s U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). I have served as the CISO at EDA for over 20 years. I am directly involved with all of EDA’s IT modernization projects currently underway.
I was raised in Brooklyn, New York. My family moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, which is where my mother is originally from, after my first year in high school. I attended college at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Business. My parents always instilled in my siblings and me the importance of education and pushed us to take advantage of the opportunities our education provided.
Since then, I have continued to seek more knowledge through education and training opportunities. I have earned several professional certifications including Oracle Developer, Oracle Database Administrator, Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation.
I am the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer at the Commerce Department’s U.S. Economic Development Administration with broad responsibilities for management of the agency’s budget and finances, human capital resources, administrative support services, information technology resources, and internal administrative and financial control systems.
My professional responsibilities include assisting others in EDA through troubleshooting and implementing business solutions. I appreciate my role enabling EDA’s network of staff across the Nation and supporting a portfolio of flexible investment mechanisms that help communities, especially those suffering economic distress.
My birthplace is Jacksonville, Florida, where I spent my adolescent years mostly fishing and becoming proficient in tossing a frisbee on the beach.
I serve as the Economic Development Representative for the State of Maryland and District of Columbia at the Commerce Department’s U.S. Economic Development Administration. Specifically, I develop and manage economic development investments in these areas on behalf of EDA. My key role is to solicit, analyze, monitor, and conduct quality assurance of investments that align with EDA’s funding priorities. I cultivate relationships with key businesses, educational institutions, civic community organizations, and local government partners. I also assess regional economic trends, strengths, and weaknesses to identify the highest-impact policy-priority projects in economically distressed regions.
My parents are from South and North Carolina, however, I grew up in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up in Newark heightened my awareness of the lack of investment among distressed communities. Unlike my immediate neighborhood, there was a large faction of deep-rooted blight and under-housed communities that I realized early in my youth needed to be revitalized.
My key responsibility is to support the Partnership Planning, CARES Act Recovery Assistance, University Center, and Indian Tribes non-construction grants for the U. S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Atlanta Regional Office (ATRO). As such, I review all post-award documentation for technical grant management and implementation, including budget amendments/extensions, payment reimbursements, audit reviews, closeout, and the subsequent grant awards. I also assist in implementing the new processes for the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) to support the performance data collection requirement for EDA.
Before coming to EDA, I worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Grants Management Division, Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia, as a financial management specialist. Prior to that position, I worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, Grants Management Division, as the lead grants management coordinator and program specialist. In this position, I proudly helped implement the award of more than $3.5 billion in grants to Head Start/Early Head Start programs and collaborated with state program directors and state officials within Region IV State of Alabama to improve and provide quality childcare services to low-income children and families.
When economic development practitioners need to learn what’s driving innovation in their region or how their community compares to surrounding areas, they use StatsAmerica’s Innovation Index 2.0. This easy-to-access tool provides planning officials a convenient means of identifying the innovation capacity of their region to help them craft effective development strategies.
StatsAmerica Innovation Index 2.0 is just one of a number of tools and resources developed by partners of EDA’s Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) program, which funds research, evaluation, and national technical assistance projects that promote competitiveness and innovation in distressed rural and urban regions throughout the United States and its territories. While most of EDA’s work occurs through collaboration with local agencies and organizations using a ‘bottom-up’ approach, RNTA complements those vital efforts by creating the assets on which local officials depend to ideate, plan, and execute effective development initiatives.