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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.5 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Establish Regional Information Technology Training Center Near Newport, Arkansas, Opportunity Zone

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.5 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the city of Newport, Arkansas, to construct an information technology training center that will assist the region in responding to the adverse economic impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic by supporting workforce development needs. The EDA grant, to be located near a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $625,000 in local funds.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to support our nation’s economy following the impacts of COVID-19 through the CARES Act,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will provide the workforce training resources that Newport and the surrounding region needs to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic and, in turn, create a stronger and more resilient economy for the future.”

“This investment comes at a crucial time to help Newport’s and Arkansas’ economy come roaring back by providing hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The project will increase the region's competitiveness by creating an apprenticeship program to train 120-180 information technology professionals each year, provide incubator space for local entrepreneurs, and build on the nearby Opportunity Zone to drive additional investment to the region.”

“The CARES Act continues to provide vital support and assistance to Arkansas as our state deals with the effects of COVID-19,” said Senator John Boozman. “This grant will help Newport and the regional economy by training residents to fill in-demand jobs and creating further opportunities for economic growth in the community. I welcome this investment by the EDA and the Trump Administration at this critical time.”

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 7, Secretary Ross announced that EDA is accepting applications for CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. For complete information, please visit our recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

The funding announced today will catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development 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 Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

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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