Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.8 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to McNeese State University Foundation, Lake Charles, Louisiana, to construct a Center of Excellence to serve as a hub of resiliency for the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) industry and better enable the region to respond to future economic disruptions, including pandemics and natural disasters. This EDA grant, to be matched with $687,500 in local funds, is expected to create 112 jobs and generate $6.3 billion in private investment.
“President Biden remains steadfast in his commitment to providing local communities with the resources necessary to ensure that they not only recover from this pandemic but build back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will create jobs and spur private investment so that Lake Charles can prepare for and respond to economic downturns experienced by COVID-19 and natural disasters like hurricanes.”
“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Jorge Ayala, Director of EDA’s Austin Regional Office. “The LNG Center of Excellence will allow leaders in the industry to produce standards, best practices, and policy as it relates to natural disasters, economic downturns, and safety as well as train workers for well-paying jobs, creating a stronger, more resilient regional economy.”
“Louisiana is an LNG leader, and I welcome this investment in the McNeese State University Foundation to support Louisiana jobs and our state’s status as an energy powerhouse,” said Senator John Neely Kennedy.
“Southwest Louisiana is the epicenter of the American LNG industry. The partnership between McNeese State University and local industry is critical for our region,” said Congressman Clay Higgins (LA-03). “The McNeese LNG Center of Excellence will deliver greater support for the local LNG industry through workforce development, specialized training, and applied research. This is a welcome investment that will help create good-paying jobs and increase private investment.”
This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.