WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Senator Tina Smith announced that the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing nearly $600,000 in two projects to strengthen Waseca’s regional economy, establish a resilient workforce and to create jobs.
“The City is excited about the potential for both of these grants to generate positive outcomes for Waseca,” City Manager Lee Mattson said. “The Recovery Coordinator position provides the opportunity to nationally market Waseca as a great place to be for new and expanding industries while the manufacturing resource center planning grant will examine the prospects for creating an organization that would benefit industry across Southern Minnesota, helping local companies innovate and grow as well as increasing the attractiveness of the region as a whole.”
The EDA is investing $395,820 to hire an economic recovery coordinator to create a three-year strategic plan that will help economic recovery efforts from the impact of Quad/Graphics’ closure in 2017.
According to the application the coordinator will collaboratively work with regional stakeholders in developing a comprehensive set of recovery activities with specific projects that correlate with the city’s recovery goals, which will identify alternative employment opportunities, develop job skilled trainings classes, and create other resources for individuals negatively affected by business closures.
The EDA is also investing $203,754 to fund a study to help Region Nine Development Commission determine the viability of a new Waseca Area Manufacturing Resource Center.
The study will provide a combined in-depth operation and economic market analysis that will reveal key insights into necessary equipment, programming and technical support that can maximize the region’s value in the manufacturing industry according to the application.
Together, these two projects are anticipated to create 248 jobs and save 600 jobs.
“I feel so inspired by the spirit, resilience and ingenuity of people I’ve met in small towns and communities across Minnesota during my rural economy tour,” said Smith in a press release. “But at the same time I recognize that many areas are facing economic hardship, where folks feel like they’re hanging on by their financial fingertips as they struggle to get by. These EDA grants will provide Waseca with the resources they need to take a step back, assess where they’re at and determine what they can do to restore economic prosperity. We must do everything we can to create economic opportunity for everyone.”