The Economic Development Administration (EDA) was established under the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3121), as amended, to generate jobs, help retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically-distressed areas of the United States. EDA assistance is available to rural and urban areas of the Nation experiencing high unemployment, low income, or other severe economic distress.
EDA helps distressed communities overcome barriers that inhibit the growth of their local economies and their ability to effectively compete in regional, national, and global markets. EDA builds local capacity in the form of strategic investment planning which helps local communities plan for new technologies, job creation opportunities, and enterprise development.
Rapidly changing technology and trade patterns create new challenges and opportunities for local and regional economies. The economic prosperity generated by these changes have not been evenly distributed throughout the nation, or within regions. While some communities have benefited from the digital economy, others have been left behind. A term coined the “Digital Divide” by the Commerce Department reflects the manifestations of the “have and have-nots” in the digital economy. Just as proximity to the railroads was critical for the industrial economy, the technology era is one of access to bandwidth, telecommunication networks, modern infrastructure, and advanced research and training facilities.
Many communities lack the resources to keep pace with change, or to prepare for the technologies driving world commerce. These impoverished communities do not have the resources to create jobs, nor the ability to respond to innovations in technology and emerging world markets. These communities must first establish a foundation for growth in the digital economy through strategic investments in physical, financial, and human capital. EDA supports local, state and regional planning partnerships that target assistance to economically distressed areas. These partnerships help communities plan and implement strategies for achieving and sustaining long-term economic growth. EDA’s focus on locally developed strategies allows EDA to make strategic investments in modern infrastructure and local capital markets. EDA responds to local priorities and invests in projects that can stabilize local economies and create new opportunities for employment and private enterprise in distressed communities. EDA’s flexible approach encourages communities to develop innovative strategies and to form strategic partnerships that will increase access to new technologies and emerging world markets.
The Economic Development Administration Program Goals
- Create Jobs and Private Enterprise in Economically Distressed Communities
- Build Local Capacity to Achieve and Sustain Economic Growth in Economically Distressed Communities