WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.4 million grant to the Southeastern Montana Development Corporation, Colstrip, Montana, to help build a Business Innovation Center to support economic and workforce development. This EDA grant, to be matched with $600,000 in local funds, is expected to create 71 jobs and generate $11.7 million in private investment.
“This EDA project will support emerging businesses, provide training to dislocated workers, and provide a center for entrepreneurial activities for the region,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “By including co-working spaces, a maker space, and offices, the Business Innovation Center will give businesses and entrepreneurs the support to grow and expand, leading to a more diverse economy and increased job opportunities for the community.”
“With this investment, the people of Colstrip will have another tool in their toolbox to diversify further and grow their local economy, bring more good-paying jobs to the area, and make their community stronger,” said Governor Greg Gianforte. “Montana stands with the people of Colstrip as they continue to provide affordable, reliable electricity for hardworking Montanans across the state.”
“As Montana continues to recover from the pandemic, it is critical our communities have the resources they need to continue creating good-paying jobs while growing the economy,” said Senator John Tester. “This funding will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs in Colstrip the support they need to attract and retain a well-trained workforce and nurture their ideas and will help ensure Colstrip businesses, workers, and the community continue to thrive.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeastern Montana Development Corporation (SEMDC). EDA funds SEMDC 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.
This project is funded under the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) initiative<https://www.eda.gov/coal/>, through which EDA awards funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal. ACC projects support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
This award is an excellent example of what communities can do under EDA’s new American Rescue Plan programs, particularly the $300 million Coal Communities Commitment<https://eda.gov/arpa/coal-communities/>. This investment will ensure that coal communities have the resources they need to recover from the pandemic and help create new jobs and opportunities, including the development or expansion of a new industry sector.