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Blog Category: Economic Development Administration

Space Coast Task Force Delivers Economic Strategies Report to President Barack Obama

Secretary Locke and NASA Administrator Bolden provide blueprint for job creation and innovation to propel regional economy

Obama at NASA giving remarks; NASA photoThe President's Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, co-chaired by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., today released its report to the president with recommendations to enhance economic development strategies along Florida’s Space Coast. The Task Force was charged with developing a plan for how best to invest $40 million in transition assistance from the federal government in the Space Coast region as the Space Shuttle program winds down.

Locke, Bolden, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and several other senior administration officials have visited the region multiple times since the creation of the Task Force to meet with area workers and experts.

“Over the past few months, we have worked diligently with local government officials, economic development agencies, and affected corporations and employees to develop a comprehensive plan that will create high-skill, high-wage jobs and a strong economic base in the Space Coast,” Locke said. “Space is a key driver of the 21st century American economy and that’s why the president believes so strongly in empowering NASA to pursue new avenues of discovery.”  Release  |  Report  |  NASA Space Coast Task Force

Secretary Locke Announces $31.3 Million in Restoration and Recovery Grants for Louisiana, Gulf

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Louisiana today to hear from local business owners and community members who have been directly affected by the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. At an economic roundtable in Metairie, La., Locke announced $31.3 million in coastal restoration and economic development grants for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

“These grants are another sign of this administration’s commitment to help the Gulf Coast’s economy and environment recover in the wake of the BP oil spill,” Locke said.

A $30.7 million restoration grant, awarded to the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration by Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will fund the restoration of a critical barrier headland near Port Fourchon, La. The headland, which experiences some of the highest shoreline retreat rates in the nation, protects vital bay and wetland habitat and property from storm surge and erosion. Louisiana’s coastal habitat is the state’s first line of defense during storms, reducing the devastating effects of wind, waves, and flooding.

In addition, Locke announced a $600,000 effort by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund the deployment of 21 Assessment and Evaluation teams to communities affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf.  Read more

Secretary Locke Announces $10 Million Investment in Louisa County, Iowa

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $10 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Louisa County, Iowa, to help rebuild the Oakville Bridge and assure businesses that vital transportation routes will remain open in the event of future severe weather events.

“The 2008 floods severely impacted infrastructure in Iowa,” Locke said. “This EDA grant will ensure that an important link for regional commerce remains open during future floods, letting businesses continue to operate and workers continue to work.”

“These funds will not only create good paying jobs immediately, but also will spur economic development in the region for years to come,” said U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack. “Oakville has shown a steadfast commitment to flood recovery and response and these funds will help the community recover stronger and better than before.”  Read More

Secretary Locke Visits Kennedy Space Center Lab, Meets with Displaced Workers on Florida's Space Coast

Phot of Locke in labSecretary Locke visited Florida’s Space Coast today to tour a world-class laboratory at Kennedy Space Center and meet with displaced workers to discuss what the Obama administration, the Commerce Department and NASA are doing to improve the local economy as the Space Shuttle program winds down, and to hear from them about the challenges they’re facing during the transition. Locke stressed the administration’s continued commitment to getting people back to work and preserving the region as a hub for innovation.

During his third visit to the region, Locke toured the Space Life Sciences Laboratory at Exploration Park, a research and technology facility at Kennedy Space Center, and met with recently laid off NASA contractors. He was joined by Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development John Fernandez, NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Charles Scales, and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana.

Locke and NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., are co-chairing the President’s Task Force on Space Industry Work Force and Economic Development, a $40 million, multi-agency initiative that is building on and complementing ongoing local and federal economic and workforce development efforts. The Task Force is leading the effort to grow the Space Coast economy and prepare its workers for the opportunities of tomorrow. Its report to the president is due in mid-August. 

 

Secretary Locke Announces Members of National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Michigan Innovation Forum

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the members of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship during an innovation forum at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Locke hosted the event along with the Commerce Department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Administration.

The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship will support President Obama's innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and identifying new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth and create jobs. Members of the council include serial entrepreneurs, university presidents, investors and non-profit leaders.

“I want to extend my gratitude to the leaders selected to The National Advisory Council. Their work will be a key component of America’s economic recovery,” Locke said.

Participants at the forum discussed the role of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation and commercialization of federally funded research.

Earlier this year, Locke kicked off a national dialogue on these issues at a forum on “Catalyzing University Research for a Stronger Economy” with university leaders and key stakeholders in Washington, D.C. The Ann Arbor forum is the third of four in a series of regional innovation forums hosted by Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with previous forums held at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Southern California. The final upcoming forum will be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Release

EDA Announces Award Competition to Promote Innovation

Commerce's U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for its 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards to spotlight projects of national significance that advance innovation, boost competitiveness and create jobs.

Entries will be accepted until August 27, 2010.  The award categories are:

  • Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs)
  • Innovation in Commercialization
  • Innovation in Global Export Promotion
  • Innovation in Green Technology

For more information on the 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards visit: http://www.eda.gov/NewsEvents/PressReleases/InnovationAwards063010

The competition was previously known as the EDA Excellence in Economic Development Awards.

Secretary Locke Addresses 78th Annual Meeting of U.S. Conference of Mayors

Image of conference video clip with president of mayor conference and LockeU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Oklahoma City for the 78th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors held at the Cox Convention Center. Locke addressed the crowd on the final day of the conference, and Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development John Fernandez and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves spoke over the weekend. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented at the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

On Sunday, a special session highlighted the conference with mayors from Gulf Coast cities dealing with the BP oil spill and its devastating after-effects. During the session, mayors discussed a resolution put forth by the mayors of Baton Rouge, La., and Tallahassee, Fla., that calls for increased federal efforts to access, mitigate and recover from the environmental and economic damage of the disaster and work closely with other local officials in all phases of the national response. Locke visited the Gulf Coast region last Thursday and spoke with local businesses that have been impacted economically by the oil spill. Remarks  Secretary's Conference video

Gainesville Region Receives Additional EDA Grant, University of Florida Breaks Ground for New Tech Business Incubator

Officials with shovels at groundbreaking ceremonyU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $1.670 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Santa Fe College and the District Board of Trustees of Santa Fe College of Gainesville, Florida to build a biotechnology laboratory and classroom addition to the new Emerging Technologies Center. The project is expected to create 270 jobs and generate $380 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.  More from Santa Fe College

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez participated also in the groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Florida’s Innovation Hub in Gainesville, Fla.  The project received $8.2 million in funding from Commerce's EDA last year to help build the tech business incubator, which will serve as a catalyst for emerging and existing start-up companies seeking to bring to market technologies developed by the university and its research partners.  The project is expected to create 300 jobs and generate $30 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

 

Secretary Locke Announces Fishery Failure Determination in Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today determined there has been a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to the economic impact on commercial and recreational fisheries from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The affected area includes the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

“We are taking this action today because of the potentially significant economic hardship this spill may cause fishermen and the businesses and communities that depend on those fisheries,” Locke said. “The disaster determination will help ensure that the Federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that fishermen and fishing communities may need.”

Locke made the determination under Section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.  The declaration was made in response to requests from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour based on the loss of access to many commercial fisheries and the existing and anticipated environmental damage from this unprecedented event.

Since May 2, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed a portion of federal waters affected by the spill to commercial and recreational fishing. This closure area, which is based on the scientific trajectory of the spill, now includes nearly 20 percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi and the waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

Full release
Related NOAA release

Latest NOAA status release on oil spill

EDA Announces Competition to Bring Innovative Ideas to Market

The i6 Challenge Logo

The i6 Challenge is a new $12 million innovation competition administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF). EDA will award up to $1 million to each of six winning teams with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in their regions. NIH and NSF will award a total of up to $6 million in supplemental funding to their SBIR grantees that are associated or partnered with the winning teams. (More) (Press release—PDF)