Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update
The Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Gulf Coast Economic Development District stand ready to assist the 13-county region in pursuing strategies to restore local economies. We will be issuing this Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update to help our local partners stay on top of new funding opportunities. Subscribers to the monthly Regional Economic Development Digest will receive the weekly update automatically. We hope to make it easier for you to secure the resources you need to recover quickly.

Please email Cheryl Mergo or call 713-993-4520 to discuss economic recovery needs you may have.
News and Updates
Submit Applications for EDA CARES Act Funding As Soon As Possible 
US Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act funding is being obligated at a rate much faster than expected. To be competitive for CARES Act supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance), the EDA highly recommends that applicants submit applications as soon as possible and no later than the unofficial deadline of October 1, 2020. Funds are available through the 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity (see page 46). The Gulf Coast Economic Development District will provide technical assistance to applicants. E-mail Cheryl Mergo or call 713-993-4520 with any questions.
Texas Workforce Commission Approves $5 Million More for COVID-19 Skills Development Fund
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) approved an additional $5 million from the Skills Development Fund for training programs in high-demand occupations, with priority for the healthcare, manufacturing, and IT sectors in response to COVID-19. In April, TWC approved up to $10 million to support COVID-19 Skills grants. To date, 50 grants have been awarded totaling $9,947,500 across a variety of sectors.
Federal Funding for Rural Communities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. 
EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers grants for workforce training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents in full-time jobs in the environmental field. The EPA encourages applicants to develop their curricula based on local labor market assessments and employers’ hiring needs, while also delivering comprehensive training that allows participants to secure multiple certifications. Read more about the grant here. The application deadline is September 22, 2020.
USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge Deadline September 10 
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications from organizations to provide planning and/or implementation technical assistance to rural communities to foster placemaking under the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge. Funds can help enhance capacity for broadband access; preserve cultural and historic structures; and support the development of transportation, housing, and recreational spaces. The maximum grant award is $250,000, over two years, with a 15% cost share requirement. Applications are due September 10, 2020. For more information, contact [email protected] or call 202-568-9738.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Assistance 
On August 4, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) posted the Fiscal Year 2020 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunities for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant program. FEMA’s two competitive mitigation grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities. To learn more about each program, see the BRIC Fact Sheet and FMA Fact Sheet. The application period is September 30, 2020 – January 20, 2021. Once the application period opens, grant applicants must use the new FEMA GO system to apply for funding. Legacy projects will continue to reside in eGrants. Learn more about the new grants award system on the FEMA website.
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I 
Small businesses are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in in seed funding from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for research and development that has a commercial potential. Rural and Community Development—which includes technologies to expand broadband, e-commerce innovations, systems that improve local government efficiency, initiatives for creative placemaking and more—is one of 10 key topic areas. A Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase I application should concentrate on research that will demonstrate the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept, describe the potential market for the innovation, and be a prerequisite to further USDA SBIR support in Phase II. Read more about project eligibility in the notice of funding opportunity. Applications are due October 22, 2020
July 2020 Gulf Coast Labor Market 
The July not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.4% in Houston, marginally down from June’s 9.7% while up from 4.1% in July 2019. Based on seasonally or not-seasonally adjusted data, total job growth across May, June, and July indicates that approximately one-third of the roughly 350,000 jobs lost in March and April due to initial impacts of COVID-19 have been recovered to date. Workforce Solutions Economist Parker Harvey noted that despite incremental improvement, “unemployment remains elevated even compared to the peak of the Great Recession with nearly 320,000 people across the Houston-area looking for a new job.” Read the full report from Workforce Solutions
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
August 25 | Recovery Strategies Related to COVID-19 for Small Business District (Session 2) | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The next topic area of the Responding to COVID-19 webinar series designed for small, distressed local governments is economic development. In this session, presenters will delve deeper into how jurisdictions can use the additional Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus funds to support current efforts and leverage other available resources. Review the posted materials from the first webinar on the Distressed Cities Technical Assistance Program Resources page.

August 27 | Part 2: FEMA Webinar Series on Effective Accessible Communications | Federal Emergency Management Agency
Part 2 of FEMA’s series on accessible communications during a disaster cycle will provide useful resources for print, TV, and radio communication strategies, as well as offer specific tools to help you write for your audience. Subject matter experts will explore solutions to accessibility challenges that virtual platforms can present.

August 27 | Economic Recovery for Dual Disasters: Preparing for Hurricane Season During COVID-19 | International Economic Development Council
During the COVID-19 pandemic, preparation for this hurricane season is particularly important to avoid a “Dual Disaster.” Join to learn best practices in regionalism - to ensure lines of communication and collaboration are set in advance of an upcoming disaster - and how to execute a successful business impact survey, so economic developers can quickly respond to business needs.

Join the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Main Street Center to learn how communities can use an “age-friendly” lens to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and deploy strategies to help older adults recover from the pandemic.

August 27 | Investing in Childcare Facilities | Council of Development Finance Agencies
There is an increasing demand for the development of affordable, quality childcare facilities across the nation, and there are many programs that exist at the community, state, and federal levels to support this investment. During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series, learn about various childcare facilities financing programs from across the country and projects that have successfully utilized these tools.

September 16 | Financial Resilience - Tools for Your Community | Federal Emergency Management Agency
In collaboration with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), FEMA offers a webinar on how to be more financially prepared for emergencies or disasters. Presenters will share tools that can help individuals and communities increase economic resilience. In addition, check out these free resources that can help individuals financially prepare for the future: Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)Financial Emergency Fact Sheet; Your Disaster Checklist.
Partner Resources
Visit the GCEDD website for information and links to local, regional, and partner organizations that have additional resources and information on economic recovery. A select list is presented below.

The Greater Houston Partnership has established the Greater Houston Business Recovery Center (GHBRC), which will provide guidance on policy and financing related to recovery programs.

RestoreYourEconomy is your resource for up-to-date information related to COVID-19 and its economic impacts.

The Texas Economic Development Council COVID-19 webpage catalogs webinars, small business program examples, research white papers, Texas Workforce Commission resources, and advice for retailers.

The National Association of Development Organizations COVID-19 resource center provides advocacy resources, upcoming virtual events and trainings, federal agency COVID-19 resources, national partner organizations response resources, Office of Management and Budget guidance, state-by-state workforce guidelines, and philanthropic resources for communities.

The International Economic Development Council Coronavirus Response webpage provides information on the IEDC's COVID-19 webinar series and frequently updated situational reports.

A wide range of free resources for Main Street leaders, including recovery planning tools, research, and best practices and examples from around the Main Street Network. 
Gulf Coast Economic Development District

The Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update is published by the