U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo has announced that the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding American Rescue Plan statewide planning grants to five territories to support territory-wide economic development planning efforts.
The funding will assist communities in their efforts to “build back better” by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks, boost economic development, enhance U.S. competitiveness, combat the climate crisis and recover from the pandemic.
Projects vary in scope based on locally driven needs. For example, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands will utilize this funding to identify economic assets and resources to develop action plans to strengthen their economies. Additionally, the Republic of Palau will use the funding to incentivize business growth in Babeldaob, sustainably manage tourism or cultural sites, improve mobile and broadband coverage and train businesses on pandemic safety.
With this announcement, all 59 states and territories have been awarded approximately $1 million grants through EDA’s Statewide Planning program – one of six programs EDA developed to equitably distribute its $3 billion in American Rescue Plan funding.
“The Biden Administration is providing states and territories the unprecedented opportunity to bring their communities together to develop comprehensive plans to build back better and stronger,” said Secretary Raimondo. “These statewide planning grants will be used to lay the groundwork for President Biden’s broader agenda to build resilient economies and increase U.S. competitiveness.”
“Planning is the backbone of economic development and building back better,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo.
“EDA is proud to partner with state and territory leaders as they begin to tackle a wide range of challenges – including workforce training, business recruitment, capital access, infrastructure, broadband, entrepreneurial growth, economic diversification and pandemic recovery – and develop a comprehensive plan for their entire state or territory that ensures communities work together toward a common economic development vision for the future,” said Castillo.
The following territories were awarded grants:
Federated States of Micronesia ($1 million)
Northern Mariana Islands ($999,755)
Republic of the Marshall Islands ($1 million)
Republic of Palau ($996,728)
United States Virgin Islands ($1 million)
For more about EDA’s Statewide Planning Grant and other American Rescue Plan programs, visit: https://www.eda.gov/arpa/.