WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.9 million grant to the Farmers Union Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota, to purchase mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.
This investment will provide equipment for workforce training programs at Central Lakes College in Staples, Minnesota, and Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota – both of which are developing certificate programs in meat processing. The EDA investment will be matched with $740,000 in local funds and is expected to create 150 jobs, retain 200 jobs and generate $20 million in private investment.
“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan helps communities tackle the workforce shortages that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in Central Minnesota gives individuals a pathway to good-paying jobs in the meat processing industry and helps address supply chain issues that will increase U.S. competitiveness in the global market.”
“The Economic Development Administration provides direct support to communities across the country that were hit hard by the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “We are pleased to make this investment in the Farmers Union Foundation to help provide workforce training and fill high-demand jobs in the meat processing sector in five counties in Central Minnesota.”
“A healthy meat processing industry is critical to the economic success of Central Minnesota,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “By giving students access to valuable resources and training, this grant will help strengthen our state’s meat processing sector.”
“Just a handful of large companies have come to dominate the meat and poultry processing industry, which means higher prices for consumers and shrinking earnings for farmers,” said Senator Tina Smith. “This new investment will make Minnesota’s meat processing sector more dynamic and competitive while supporting hundreds of jobs. I am proud of our work to pass the American Rescue Plan, which made this program possible.”
This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.
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.