U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced Tuesday (Feb. 6) the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing $7 million in projects in Arkansas. These investments will support healthcare workforce development and infrastructure improvements for businesses.
Arkansas State University – Newport will receive a $5 million EDA grant to support construction of a 24,000-square foot Nursing and Health Sciences workforce training center. The project will be matched with $1.3 million in local funds and is expected to create 225 jobs, according to grantee estimates.
The city of Trumann will receive a $2 million EDA grant for construction of a new water treatment facility and ground water storage tank, to support current residents and businesses while providing capacity for future industrial growth. The project will be matched with $500,000 in local funds.
“President Biden’s ‘Investing in America’ agenda is making sure communities in Arkansas and across the country have the resources needed to grow and diversify their economies,” said Raimondo. “These EDA investments will support workforce development and infrastructure improvements, creating jobs and fostering business expansion in Northeast Arkansas.”
“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally developed strategies designed to create economic opportunity,” said assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “EDA is proud to support these Arkansas communities as they work to provide new economic opportunities for residents and businesses that benefit the entire region.”
“Sustaining rural communities requires strategic investment that helps create opportunities and enhance quality of life. I’m pleased Trumann and Newport are both benefiting from this federal support to ensure future growth. The assistance with water infrastructure modernization and new access to medical training will serve not only their needs, but help lead the region toward increased economic development and advancement,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman.
These projects were made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the White River Planning and Development District, Inc. (WRPDD) and the East Arkansas Planning and Development District (EAPDD). EDA funds WRPDD and EAPDD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
These projects are funded under the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, which provided EDA with $483 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas that received major disaster declarations.