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Spotlight on Commerce: Irette Y. Patterson, Program Analyst, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Women’s History Month.

Guest blog post by Irette Y. Patterson, Program Analyst, U.S. Economic Development Administration

I am a Program Analyst for the Economic Development Administration’s Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program (TAAF). The program assists firms that have been negatively impacted by foreign trade. I am responsible for reviewing documentation from firms petitioning for technical assistance through the program to ensure they qualify for the program. I am also responsible for providing technical assistance to grantees, reviewing progress reports, processing payment requests, assisting in the writing of the program’s Annual Report to Congress, submitting notices to the Federal Register, and making sure the policy manual for the program is up-to-date.

I grew up the youngest of three in Atlanta, Georgia. I thought I would spend the rest of my life in Atlanta until my dad was transferred to Rochester, New York, my senior year of high school. Looking at my resume, some people think I’m from Rochester, but I’m pure Southern.

I have a degree in Biology from Florida A&M University. My intent was to become a research microbiologist. After nine months conducting research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, however, I decided to change career paths. I wanted to help people!

I landed at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs working with the Community Development Block Grant program. I rose through the ranks to become a program manager responsible for managing the Equity, E-911, and AirGeorgia economic development grant and loan programs. I also graduated from the Department’s Leadership Development Program.

Looking for a new challenge, a friend encouraged me to apply for a position with EDA. I applied and was hired in the Philadelphia Regional Office as an Economic Development Specialist. After a year, I came to the Washington D.C. headquarters as a Program Analyst working with TAAF.

My favorite quote is, “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor,” by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. So, get on the dance floor. Don’t wait for an invitation. Advice? Learn to do the job you want. Get the money on the backend. Keep moving forward. Be willing to do what other people are not willing to do and go where other people are not willing to go!