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Spotlight on Commerce: Cheryl Jackson, Program Analyst, Atlanta Regional Office, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Guest blog post by Cheryl Jackson, Program Analyst, Atlanta Regional Office, U.S. Economic Development Administration

My key responsibility is to support the Partnership Planning, CARES Act Recovery Assistance, University Center, and Indian Tribes non-construction grants for the U. S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Atlanta Regional Office (ATRO). As such, I review all post-award documentation for technical grant management and implementation, including budget amendments/extensions, payment reimbursements, audit reviews, closeout, and the subsequent grant awards. I also assist in implementing the new processes for the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) to support the performance data collection requirement for EDA.

Before coming to EDA, I worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Grants Management Division, Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia, as a financial management specialist. Prior to that position, I worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Head Start, Grants Management Division, as the lead grants management coordinator and program specialist. In this position, I proudly helped implement the award of more than $3.5 billion in grants to Head Start/Early Head Start programs and collaborated with state program directors and state officials within Region IV State of Alabama to improve and provide quality childcare services to low-income children and families.

With more than ten years of experience leading and administering grants within the federal government, I was drawn to EDA because of its vision and mission – to ensure sustainable economic growth, diversification, and the creation of jobs throughout the Atlanta region and across the U.S.

I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where I attended Henry Grady High School and continued my education at Clark Atlanta University, the first Historically Black College and University in south Atlanta. I later transferred to Herzing University to pursue a dual major degree. I received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, as well as a Master of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management with honors from Herzing University. During my college experiences, I learned to be selfless, open-minded, and strive towards improving people's lives and helping low-income children and families within my community. It was there that stewardship, determination, resiliency, and a thirst for education was instilled in me.

There are two quotes that continue to motivate, enhance, and keep me focused personally and professionally:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
 – Maya Angelou

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the lives of African Americans who fought to free slaves, secure the right to vote, and achieve equal rights and justice for all. As a child, I enjoyed writing about my favorite black history legends such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Frederick Douglass and our civil rights heroes who gathered to walk for freedom in Selma Alabama, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce African Americans during Black History Month.