EDA: $1.2 Million Invested to Establish Aeronautics Workforce Training Center in Minnesota Opportunity Zone

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million grant to Carlton County, Minnesota, to establish an aeronautics workforce training center to support the region’s emerging aviation industry. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $291,718 in state funds and $14,464 in local funds and is expected to create or retain nearly 40 jobs and spur $3.5 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is committed to supporting local strategies to boost workforce training initiatives designed to advance key regional industry sectors in Opportunity Zones,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This new aeronautics workforce training center and aircraft hangar, in addition to the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone, will advance the growth of Minnesota’s critical aviation sector.”

“Carlton County was impacted by severe storms, tornadoes, winds, and flooding in the summer 2018,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will help Carlton become more resilient in the face of future natural disasters and strengthen the region’s aviation industry and workforce. Its location in an Opportunity Zone provides additional incentives for business development.”

“The Cloquet Carlton County Airport is already a tremendous asset for the region, as local businesses frequently rely on it to engage in commerce,” said Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08). “Given the popularity of this key transportation hub, increased hangar space has become necessary, and these funds will help address this growing need while creating valuable opportunities for the local workforce. I am grateful to the Administration for prioritizing this rural community through its designation as an Opportunity Zone and the allocation of these funds, and I look forward to seeing this project help empower Minnesota’s workers and strengthen the region’s aviation sector for years to come.”

The funding announced today goes to one of Minnesota’s 128 Opportunity Zones. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources webpage. To learn more about Opportunity Zone best practices, see the recently released White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report (PDF) to President Trump.

This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20) (PDF), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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