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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $5.5 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Build Critical Infrastructure and Boost Rural Workforce and Entrepreneurial Training Efforts in Texas

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $5.5 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to help the state of Texas prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

“President Biden is committed to supporting communities as they not only recover from the pandemic but build back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “These EDA investments will provide necessary fiber optic and electrical infrastructure to support business operation and growth in Port Arthur and develop an education and workforce center to support economic and workforce development needs in East Texas.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in 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. “These EDA investments will allow Texas businesses to operate with effective, reliable internet and electrical service and bridge the digital divide between aspiring and experienced business owners.”

“I thank the Economic Development Administration for supporting the City of Port Arthur and East Texas communities through these digital infrastructure and workforce development grants,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “From telehealth to virtual learning, the pandemic showed us that now more than ever we need a strong and robust digital infrastructure to bridge the digital divide and ensure internet access for everyone. By investing in our skilled workforce and hardworking business owners, we will ensure every Texan will have access to reliable internet and create an even more prosperous future for the Lone Star State.”

“While Texans persevere as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on our state, we must take steps to ensure that our communities are equipped to weather the storm,” said Senator John Cornyn. “I applaud this announcement and will continue to do everything I can to make economic growth across Texas a high priority.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • City of Port Arthur, Texas, will receive a $3 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to supports the design and construction of data cabling and fiber optic infrastructure and new electrical service infrastructure to promote business expansion and economic resiliency in the downtown business district. The project, to be matched with $777,000 in local funds, is expected to create 41 jobs, retain 29 jobs, and generate $76.5 million in private investment.
  • Wiley College, Marshall, Texas, will receive a $2.5 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to establish the Center of Excellence in Digital Education and Rural Workforce Development. The Center will support economic and workforce development needs in the rural East Texas region and provide technical assistance and soft-skills training to bridge the digital divide, amplified by the global pandemic, between aspiring and experienced business owners.

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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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