The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $300,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s EDA University Center.
The grant will be used to boost the center’s capacity to support regional economic development strategies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Trump Administration is eager to allocate these essential CARES Act funds and deliver on our promise to help American communities recover from the impact of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “I am proud of the perseverance and strength shown by our communities coast to coast throughout this pandemic, and these funds will help provide Georgia with the necessary resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.”
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.
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.
EDA university centers marshal the resources found in colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in areas challenged with chronic and acute economic distress.
Tech was the first institution of higher learning to be designated an EDA University Center when the program was launched in the 1960s. It has been an EDA award recipient since inception — the only institute of higher learning with that distinction.
Tech’s EDA University Center, an offering of its economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, will use the CARES Act funding to support three specific activities with businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs in Georgia:
- Conduct, share, and disseminate applied research to address specific challenges or needs, or solve specific problems resulting from the economic impacts of coronavirus.
- Provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses and communities to assist in their recovery efforts from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Assist communities in identifying, defining, and supporting their workforce talent with the goal of helping communities recover from the economic impacts of coronavirus.
“We always incorporate new, innovative approaches in working with our clients,” said Georgia Tech EDA University Center Director Lynne Henkiel. “Georgia businesses and communities are all dealing with the effects that COVID-19 on their operations and local economies. This funding will help support our work and development of programs and training for business and community leaders to evaluate and reassess their activities to help them get back up and operating quickly.”
Among some of the services that Tech’s EDA University Center will offer under grant include business counseling, feasibility studies, and resilience plans, as well as skills development and workforce training, among other offerings.
“This investment comes at a crucial time to help Georgia’s and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, performing the delegated duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. “We are pleased to make this investment in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by assisting communities across Georgia develop short and long-term resilience plans with additional support for workforce development initiatives.”
In 2018, the most recent reporting data available, the EDA University Center at Georgia Tech worked with 13 clients and helped them save or create 57 jobs and secure more than $1.4 million in private and public sector investments.