December 16, 2020

EDA: Investment Made to Establish Disaster Resilient Workforce Training Center in Northern Mariana Islands Opportunity Zone

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is making a critical recovery award using Fiscal Year 2019 Disaster Supplemental funds to Northern Marianas College (NMC), Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, to construct a three-story, approximately 20,158 square foot, typhoon resistant, ADA compliant Workforce Development and Training Center. The facility will house NMC’s nursing and business programs and Center for Innovation.

FEMA estimates that Super Typhoon Yutu, the strongest typhoon to ever strike the Northern Mariana Islands, did over $800 million in damage to the Northern Mariana Islands.

The EDA-funded building, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, is expected to create 93 jobs.

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping businesses grow by supporting locally-driven workforce training initiatives,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This project will provide the Northern Mariana Islands with the necessary workforce training facility to strengthen the economic resilience of the region that is vulnerable to natural disasters. The project’s location in an Opportunity Zone will drive additional private investment to the Northern Mariana Islands.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in helping communities impacted by natural disasters not only rebuild, but rebuild stronger,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will help the Northern Mariana Islands respond to the economic impact of Super Typhoon Yutu by expanding the training of skilled workers to meet the current and future demands of local employers, and the project’s location in an Opportunity Zone is critical to enhancing economic development.”

“The grant funds will help Northern Marianas College (NMC) build resilient, technologically-advanced, and energy-efficient facilities to meet the workforce and education needs of the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Governor Ralph DLG. Torres. “We are thankful to the Trump Administration for their help and support of NMC’s long term recovery and rebuilding efforts. The new facilities funded by EDA will help NMC expand and sustain critical programs for our community moving forward as the College commemorates its 40th anniversary in 2021.”

The $10.7 million in funding announced today goes to one of Northern Mariana Islands’ 20 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 (
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.

This post was originally published here.