U.S. Department of Commerce invests $3.2 million in CARES Act funding

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced today the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding $3.2 million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants to eight EDA Economic Development District organizations across Arkansas to update the economic development plans and fortify programs to assist communities in responding to the COVID-19 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. “I am proud of the perseverance and strength shown by our communities coast to coast throughout this pandemic, and these funds will help provide Arkansas with resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.” 

“These investments come at a crucial time to help Arkansas’ 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 these investments in Arkansas’ EDA Economic Development Districts to help them prevent, prepare, and respond to coronavirus.”

“The economic harm COVID-19 has brought to communities across Arkansas has been readily apparent,” said Senator John Boozman. “Investing in development organizations and strategies to help our communities recover and prepare for future growth opportunities makes perfect sense, and I applaud the administration for announcing these grants and prioritizing economic resiliency,” Boozman said.

“The pandemic has created many challenges, but Arkansans are resolute in pushing forward and emerging stronger,” said Congressman Steve Womack (AR-03). “As we work to safely reopen, these strategic investments through the CARES Act will provide Third District small businesses with critical resources to support recovery efforts and reinvigorate the economy. I thank Secretary Ross and the Economic Development Administration for their work to quickly allocate these funds throughout the Natural State.”

The EDA investments announced today are:

  • Central Arkansas Planning & Development District, Lonoke, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic through focused research into the economic impacts, job losses, and business disruption resulting from the pandemic, and by developing strategies to enhance their region’s capacity to recover from the immediate crisis and prepare for future economic growth opportunities.
  • East Arkansas Planning & Development District, Jonesboro, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by providing technical assistance to the cities, counties, businesses, and other development organizations in their region to boost economic development initiatives.
  • Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, Harrison, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by hiring additional staff to focus on implementing strategies to help the region’s economy continue to grow despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
  • Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by hiring additional staff to increase its communication platforms and support disaster resiliency efforts for their region.
  • Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District, Magnolia, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by increasing capacity to assist with training, strategic planning, and project development and implementation.
  • West Central Arkansas Planning & Development District, Hot Springs, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by supporting the region’s public and private sectors with identifying and accessing resources necessary to build a more resilient economy.
  • Western Arkansas Planning & Development District, Fort Smith, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by enhancing capacity to respond to workforce needs, conduct additional outreach for current and future pandemic response, and to hire additional staff to coordinate communication efforts.
  • White River Planning & Development District, Batesville, Arkansas, will receive a $400,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by dedicating staff to implement strategies to grow the region’s businesses and manufacturing sector, and to support rapidly growing workforce needs.

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