This week, President Obama called for more robust job creation measures in his Joint Address to Congress. To put Americans back to work, we must make smart investments to support the jobs and industries of the future, and that is what the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) does across the country.
As the only government agency with economic development as its sole mission, EDA leads the national bottom-up job creation and growth agenda by promoting American innovation and building strong regional economic ecosystems to accelerate long-term, sustainable economic prosperity. The agency’s investments have two major goals: creating higher-skill, living-wage jobs and attracting private capital investment. Its diverse portfolio of construction, technical assistance, finance, and investment planning assistance are designed to help communities build upon their regional assets to foster job creation and business expansion.
The agency’s work is generating real returns. Every $1 dollar in EDA grant funding is expected to leverage nearly $7 dollars worth of private investment. In FY 2010, EDA awarded investments that totaled approximately $285 million, excluding supplemental funds. Of this amount, approximately $191.5 million funded construction projects that are expected to help create or retain about 48,500 jobs and generate nearly $6 billion in private investment, according to grantee estimates at the time of the award.
The agency’s return on investment is closely tracked to ensure the American taxpayer is getting the most out of their tax dollars. EDA has consistently sought third party reviews of its programs and their performance. In 1997, a third-party analysis conducted by Rutgers University, found that the agency created jobs at a cost to EDA of $3,058 and leveraged $10.08 dollars in private investment per EDA dollar. An independent analysis by Grant Thornton was commissioned in 2008 to update the Rutgers analysis. Grant Thornton reported findings consistent with those produced by Rutgers and determined that EDA supports job creation at a marginal cost between $2,001 and $4,611 in project funding.
Going even further to ensure efficiency, in October 2010, EDA announced several important changes to its grant application and review process and cut the time it takes to award a grant from 128 days to 20 days. These changes built upon EDA’s existing reputation for superior customer service, ensuring our stakeholders that EDA’s grant-making process is as efficient, transparent, and competitive as possible.
A model of smart, lean government, the agency does more while spending less. Through solid performance measures and with proven results, EDA is positioned to continue to help advance President Obama’s strategy to keep America competitive in the global economy.