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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $500,000 in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Business Education and Mentorship in Eugene, Oregon

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $500,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, Eugene, Oregon, to provide education and mentoring support needed to help area businesses respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This EDA grant, to be matched with $184,771 in local investment, is expected to create 256 jobs and generate $910,560 in private investment.

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will allow the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Onward Eugene, and the University of Oregon to partner to help businesses respond to the coronavirus pandemic through workforce and business training support.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an incredible toll on Oregon’s iconic restaurants and main street businesses, as our business owners have stepped up, sacrificed, and made smart choices to help protect us all in the past year,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I’d like to thank the U.S. Department of Commerce for these resources to help small businesses in Eugene. I remain committed to fighting for additional resources for Oregonians at the federal level, including calling on Congress to pass the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan as quickly as possible.”

“Strong partnerships, innovation, entrepreneurship and the prioritization of a high tech, knowledge-based economy have converged to create a strong economic foundation in the Eugene-Springfield area,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “Although the acceleration of several community planning efforts was paused when the pandemic hit, it is this foundation that will provide the seeds for growth and economic recovery as we come out of the pandemic. That’s why I worked with local partners to secure this grant funding, so the community can expand its training and mentorship programs and continue to invest in the applied sciences that have long contributed to the area’s success.”

“A year into the pandemic, grants like these provide small businesses critical support as they work to manage the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04). “These funds will help our communities’ small businesses stay afloat while helping unemployed workers find jobs.”

This project will help train unemployed workers to find jobs that have transferrable skills and will provide additional resources to the Onward Eugene business accelerator, including funding to increase the capacity of its entrepreneur mentorship program. Expanded training and mentorship opportunities supported by this investment will provide area businesses with expert guidance on recovering from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. 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.

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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