Selected Federal Agency Announcements and Related for the Week of April 9, 2018

The following is a selection of recent announcements gleaned from various federal sources and colleagues, and is provided to EDA’s Economic Development Integrators to increase our awareness of complementary resources for economic developmentSpecial thanks to ETA and other federal partners for sharing content included below.

Features this week include newly announced grant opportunities from EPA  on supplemental funding for Brownfields RLFs and new USDA grants for Telemedicine-Distance Learning and Aquaculture Industry research.

See also item under Reports, Tools and Data summarizing new research on university role in entrepreneurship ecosystems.

Also visit the following links on our updated EDI webpages at for additional information about federal resources that are available to support comprehensive regional economic development strategies, including:

Click here to view all weekly federal announcement posts.

Funding & Resource Announcements

Announcements of Federal Funding & Assistance Available:

NEW Brownfields RLF – EPA Announces $7M to Supplement FY18 Loan Funds. Apply by April 13.

EPA announced the availability of an estimated $7 million in FY 2018 funds to supplement eligible Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grants. Grants eligible to request supplemental funds are Brownfields RLF grants that have been previously awarded competitively under Section 104(k)(3) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or that have transitioned to Section 104(k)(3) of CERCLA, and subject to other identified criteria (see links below). Requests for funding must be postmarked by April 13, 2018. Specific information on eligibility and criteria for submitting a request can be obtained by contacting your EPA Brownfields Coordinator listed in the Federal Register Notice (see link below).


Brownfields and Capacity Building: NPS Groundwork Program – Letter of Interest Due Apr 30

Groundwork USA, in partnership with the National Parks Service and EPA, is accepting Letters of Interest from communities wishing to form a nonprofit trust to improve the environmental, economic and social conditions in communities impacted by brownfields and derelict lands. One community will be selected for the Groundwork Program through this RFP process. It will be eligible for up to $200,000 in funding and technical assistance from NPS, EPA and GW USA to plan, establish and build the capacity of its local Groundwork Trust organization. For complete, click here. Submit Letter of Interest by April 30, 2018


Innovation and Disaster Resilience – US Forest Service – 2019 National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program –Apply by Apr 30:

The USDA’s Forest Service anticipates approximately $900,000 in grant funds to be awarded through the 2019 National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program. Funds are to support national urban and community forestry projects on nonfederal public land that have a national or multi-state impact and application. This Request for Proposals is to address priority issues within the research needs of the action plan: D: Prepare for Pests, Threats, Natural Disasters and Associated Changes and Risks. More information available here. The grant opportunity number is USDA-FS-UCF-01-2019.  Applications due April 30, 2018


International Trade: SBA’s FY18 State Trade Expansion (STEP) Program – Apply by May 2

SBA’s Office of International Trade (OIT) invite proposals for funding under the FY18 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP), from eligible state entities interested in and capable of providing assistance and guidance to eligible small business concerns to increase the number of such firms that export and the value of small business exports. The objective of STEP is to increase the number of US small businesses that export, to increase the dollar value of exports, and new export opportunities. Applicants can apply for awards ranging from $100,000 (minimum) to $900,000 (maximum). Details on funding allocations, match requirements, eligible activities and other instructions are posted at under Funding Opportunity Number: OIT-STEP-2018-01


Coal Impacted Communities – ARC FY18 POWER Grants. Apply by May 1.

The Appalachian Regional Commission has issued an RFP for its Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative, for communities affected by job loss in the coal mining industry. The POWER FY18 grant competition will be structured in two cycles: Cycle 1 deadline: May 1, 2018.; Cycle 2 deadline: July 27, 2018. Up to 70% of available POWER FY18 funds will be awarded in Cycle 1. For more information visit:


Workforce Training: DOL Workforce Training Demonstration Grants for Communities Impacted by Opioid Crisis

The Employment and Training Administration has announced the availability of up to $21 million for National Health Emergency (NHE) demonstration grant projects for Program Year 2017. These grants will enable eligible applicants to serve or retrain workers in communities impacted by the health and economic effects of widespread opioid use, addiction, and overdose. ETA is launching a two-phase, multi-year approach, utilizing grant funds to combat the economic and workforce impacts associated with the opioid health crisis, as well as encourage more individuals to enter professions that could address the crisis. The first phase is the demonstration project being announced with this advisory. The agency plans to conduct a second phase in Program Year 2018, pending availability of funds.

The agency anticipates awarding grants to 7 to 10 demonstration projects, with anticipated funding amounts between $500,000 and $5 million each. No award will exceed $5 million. The final amount of each grant is dependent on the number of applicants and the availability of Federal funds. The March 20, 2018 Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 12-17 addresses background, goals of the NHE grants, eligibility (applicants, participants), allowable activities, cost limitations, application content requirements, award procedures, and reporting.



Rural Energy –  USDA Announces Funds Available for Rural Energy for America (REAP) Program. Disaster Areas Eligible. Apply by Apr 30.

The Rural Business-Cooperative Service within the Department of Agriculture has issued a Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) for financial assistance under Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. REAP has two types of funding assistance: (1) Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Assistance, and (2) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grants. Noted among the criteria for selection:

  • Projects owned by a veteran;
  • Projects owned by a member of a socially-disadvantaged group including Federally declared disaster areas;
  • The proposed project is located in an impoverished area, has experienced long-term population decline, or loss of employment.

The application closing date for this cycle is April 30. Application materials may be obtained by contacting one of Rural Development’s Energy Coordinators, as identified via the following link:  For more information, view Funding Opportunity Number RDBCP-REAP-EEI-2018 on  


Rural Broadband Grants – USDA FY18 Community Connect Grants for Broadband Service. Apply by May 14.

The purpose of the Community Connect Grant Program is to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to eligible applicants that will provide service at the Broadband Grant Speed to all premises in currently unserved, lower-income, and extremely rural areas. RUS will give priority to rural areas that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband services, based on defined criteria. The deadline for proposals is May 14.  View announcement in here: RDRUS-CC-2018

Rural Broadband Loans – USDA Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 for the Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program (the Broadband Program). Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout FY 2018. Applications can only be submitted online through the RD Apply website at through  September 30, 2018.

Full background man be found at


New Rural Innovation Grants – USDA Telemedicine and Distance Learning program. Apply by June 4

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the opening of the application window for the FY 2018 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program.

See Opportunity Number: RUS-18-01-DLT for application package or view the Federal register notice for full background and application requirements.


Rural Businesses – USDA Grants to Support Local Food Systems, Specialty Crops Growers and Product Marketing. Apply by May 7 or 24

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced nearly $89 million in available funding to support specialty crop growers, strengthen local and regional food systems, and explore new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers.

  • $1M avail under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). Applications due by May 7 2018.
  • $26M avail under the Farmers Market (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Programs (LFPP). Applications for FMPP and LFPP must be submitted by May 7, 2018.
  • $72M avail under the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). States must submit SCBGP applications electronically through grants.govby  May 24, 2018.

Visit the AMS Grants & Opportunities web page to learn more about eligibility and grant uses.


NEW: Aquaculture Industry – USDA Research Grants Available. Apply by May 17

USDA National Institute for Agriculture (NIFA) requests application for grants under the Aquaculture Research program, to support the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the U.S. and generate new science-based information and innovation to address industry constraints. Results of projects supported by this program may help improve the profitability of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, increase domestic food security, provide markets for U.S.-produced grain products, increase domestic aquaculture business investment opportunities, and provide more jobs for rural and coastal America.

The Aquaculture Research program will fund projects that directly address major constraints to the U.S. aquaculture industry and focus on one or more of the following program priorities: (1) genetics of commercial aquaculture species; (2) critical disease issues impacting aquaculture species; (3) design of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture production systems; and (4) economic research for increasing aquaculture profitability. Applications due by May 17. Click below for more info


Grants for New Product R&D – NSF Funds Small Business R&D for Science and Technology Products. Apply by June 14.

The National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs- also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF – provides small businesses with equity-free funding to conduct research and development (R&D) work. The funding is intended to allow recipients to bring innovative new products and services to market that drive the commercial success of the small business.

The NSF STTR and SBIR programs seeks innovative proposals that show promise of commercial and societal impact. Information on science and technology topics of interest is available here). Further information about the program is available at

Federal Awards Announced:

Previously Announced Federal Funding Opportunities Closing Soon:  

Below is a list of previously highlighted funding opportunities that are still open. Enter the Opportunity Number in to see announcement details. You can also search for a full list of current federal opportunities, including programs not listed below.

Opportunity Number Opportunity Title Agency Posted Date Close Date
CNCS-03-08-18 FY 2018 Community Conversations CNCS 03/09/2018 04/10/2018
2018-NEA01CA NEA Challenge America, FY2019 NEA 12/05/2017 04/12/2018
EPA-HQ-OPPT-2018-001 FY 2018 – FY 2019 Pollution Prevention Grant Program EPA 03/01/2018 04/26/2018
USDA-FS-UCF-01-2019 2019 National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program USDA-FS 01/31/2018 04/30/2018
RDBCP-REAP-EEI-2018 USDA Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program USDA-RBCS 03/27/2018 04/30/2018
P18AS00071 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Grant Program DOI-NPS 02/28/2018 05/01/2018
BOR-DO-18-F002 Desalination and Water Purification Research Program for Fiscal Year 2018 DOI-BOR 02/27/2018 05/01/2018
OIT-STEP-2018-01 State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) SBA 03/30/2018 05/02/2018
NOAA-NMFS-HCOP-2018-2005502 NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants Program (FY 2018) DOC 01/24/2018 05/07/2018
USDA-AMS-TM-FMPP-G-18-0002 Farmers Market Promotion Program USDA-AMS 03/07/2018 05/07/2018
USDA-AMS-TM-LFPP-G-18-0001 Local Food Promotion Program USDA-AMS 03/07/2018 05/07/2018
P18AS00081 Historic Preservation Fund Grants-in-Aid: Tribal Heritage Grants DOI-NPS 03/01/2018 05/11/2018
RDRUS-CC-2018 Community Connect Grant Program USDA-RUS 03/15/2018 05/14/2018
N00014-18-S-F005 FY 2018 FOA for DOD’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) Manufacturing Engineering Education Program DOD-ONR 01/12/2018 05/16/2018
USDA-NIFA-SRGP-006544 Special Research Grants Program – Aquaculture Research USDA-NIFA 04/03/2018 05/17/2018
USDA-AMS-TM-SCBGP-G-18-0003 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Farm Bill USDA-AMS 03/07/2018 05/24/2018
USDA-NRCS-PR-CIG-001 NRCS’ Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for FY 2018 – Caribbean Area USDA-NRCS 03/30/2018 05/30/2018
FMCS-2018 Labor-Management Cooperation Grant Program FMCS 03/12/2018 05/31/2018
RUS-18-01-DLT Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program USDA-RUS 04/05/2018 06/04/2018
NNH18ZDA001N-DISASTERS ROSES 2018: Earth Science Applications: Disaster Risk Reduction and Response NASA-HQ 02/15/2018 06/14/2018
NSF 17-590 Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources NSF 08/22/2017 10/01/2018

Public Meetings, Events and Training

New USDA and SBA Sign MOU to Enhance Collaboration in Rural Areas:

Two federal agencies have pledged to collaborate more closely to promote small businesses and agricultural economies in rural areas. On April 4, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Administration signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance coordination in areas of mutual interest. The collaboration is intended to improve investment opportunities in rural areas, identify ways to increase the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017, improve innovation for rural technical assistance providers, and aid rural businesses in providing tools to export products around the world, the agencies said in a release.

In order to accomplish these goals, USDA and SBA will convene interagency working groups to address, among other things, the following:

(1) Capital Access and Investment in Rural America: The working groups shall collaborate to bring more capital, both public and private, to rural communities. Synergies between the following programs will be explored:

  1. USDA Business & Industry fund and SBA 7(a) and 504 loan programs
  2. Using Rural Business Service (“RBS”) to facilitate the delivery of SBA programs to rural customers;
  3. SBA Small Business Investment Company (“SBIC”) Program and the Rural Business Investment Program (“RBIC”) to encourage investments in rural small businesses,
  4. Opportunities to focus a percentage of SBA’s SBIC Program funds on rural small businesses.

(2) Assisting Business in Rural America: The working groups shall also collaborate on opportunities to expand business in rural communities. Synergies to be explored here include:

  1. Overlapping rural markets identified by USDA, HUB Zones, and Opportunity Zones
  2. Opportunities to establish innovation clusters in rural areas;
  3. Supporting initiatives benefiting Native Americans; and
  4. Collaborating on TA, especially with respect to export and procurement.


Begins April 16 – SBA Begins 2018 SBIR/STTR Road Tour

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced its 2018 road tour connecting entrepreneurs with next generation R&D ideas to early stage funding led by the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Schedule is as follows:

  • April 16-20 – The Southern Tour, with stops in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • June 18-22 – The Eastern Tour, with stops in Rochester, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Columbus, Ohio; Charleston, West Virginia; and Durham, North Carolina.
  • July 17-19 – The Pacific Northwest Tour, with stops in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Anchorage, Alaska.
  • August 20-24 – the New England Tour, with stops in Wilmington, Delaware; New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Portland, Maine.

Small technology firms, innovators, scientists or researchers seeking more information on the SBIR Road Tour, including a schedule of stops and participating agencies should visit:

Register now for the #SmallBusinessWeek Virtual Conference!. Register



Reports, Tools and Data

NEW: Treasury Departments Launches “Data Lab”; Improved Visualization of USA Data, the one-stop shop for government spending data created by the 2014 Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), is a veritable treasure trove of information on how the government spends its money. The Data Lab, which officially launched on April 5, is a home for data visualizations based on data.


The site launched with six visualizations, including a federal accounts dendrogram showing the nearly 2,000 federal bank accounts and a sunburst diagram looking at “how nearly $500 billion is spent each year on contracts.” It’s also posting the code for each visualization to GitHub to encourage other developers to use it for their own projects or purposes.


New Economic Analysis on Impact of Occupational Licensing on Wages and Careers”

The Hamilton Project recently released a new report entitled “How Occupational Licensing Matters for Wages and Careers,” which examines how licensing changes the labor market experiences of licensed and unlicensed workers. Using new data from the US Census Department’s Current Population Survey, the analysis explores the ways licensing matters for workers’ wages, tenure, and part-time status by age, race, gender, and wage level. To learn more, read the full report.


New Research on University Role in Regional Entrepreneurship Ecosystems

An essay by Jonathan Dworin appears in the April 5 SSTI weekly posting, that features several new research studies on the role of Universities in Regional Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.  Highlights offered below. See full article and newsletter content at


  • In Revisiting the Roles of the University in Regional Economic Development: A Triangulation of Data, authors Yas Motoyama and Heike survey and interviewfirms in three regions (Boise, Kansas City, and Portland) on how they interact with universities.
  • The Role of Research Universities in U.S. College-Town Entrepreneurial Ecosystems also sheds light on the roles that anchor universities play in economic development and startup communities, by analyzing 53 mid-sized regions identified as “college towns.” Authors Haifeng Qian and Xin Yao discover a significant association between the share of college degree holders and entrepreneurship in college-town metros, and recommend that universities focus on cultivating talent pipelines to support entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Author Julian Wyllie draws a similar conclusion in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education on university innovation centers and their role in supporting entrepreneurship. Citing published research from Ohio State professor Matthew Mayhew and his research partner Benjamin Selznick, they find that the interdisciplinary nature of the centers – the ability to attract students and faculty from all backgrounds and majors – helps contribute to their value. An additional benefit to innovation centers is their ability to develop connections with local businesses.
  • Examples of programs to embed students in their respective entrepreneurial ecosystems, are cited throughout, including:
    • Startups2Students, a project of HackCU and CU Boulder’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative
    • Students+Startups, a similar program from Trinity University, the co-working space Geekdom, and the 80|20 Foundation.
    • The Entrepreneurship at Cornell that provide matching grants for biotechnology companies in New York that employ student interns, and the NSF-supported Cornell Center for Materials Research that provides matching funds for internships at small manufacturing and other R&D-intensive small companies in NY.
    • DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center that places students at Chicago-area startups.


CEDS Central –Free Resource and Training Archive for Regional Partners

CEDS Central serves as the Resource and Training Archive for materials developed by the NADO Research Foundation (NADO RF) as part of its Stronger CEDS, Stronger Region program, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The free materials archived there include reports, case studies, videos, webinars, and presentation materials on planning, developing, and implementing the CEDS. See:


Highlights of Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act of 2018

From An April 6 advisory from NADO:

On March 23, the president signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. The bill funds programs for fiscal year (FY) 2018 through September 30, 2018. The BUILD Act of 2018 was attached to the omnibus spending package and reauthorizes the Brownfields Program through FY2023. The content of the bill is very similar to the brownfields legislation passed by the House in November 2017, H.R. 3017. The BUILD Act authorizes program spending at $200 million annually and provides various reforms.

BUILD Act of 2018 Summary

  • Expands eligibility of brownfields grants recipients to nonprofit and community development entities; eligibility includes brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loan fund, and job training grants
  • Increases brownfields remediation cleanup grants from $200,000 to $500,000 and may be raised to $650,000 based on need
  • Establishes new program for multipurpose grants providing up to $1 million for eligible entity to inventory, characterize, assess, plan, and remediate one or more sites within specific area; grants can be used for the full range of brownfields funded activities including assessment, cleanup, reuse planning as well as on an area-wide and community-wide basis
  • Allows eligible entities to use up to five percent of program funding for administrative costs
  • Directs EPA to provide technical assistance grants to small communities, Indian tribes, rural areas, or disadvantaged areas; grants are for up to $20,000 per grant for communities under 15,000 in population or with an annual median household income that is less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median household income
  • Classifies petroleum sties as brownfields where no viable responsible party exists, and state and EPA decide entity assessing and remediating the site is not liable to clean up the site

For more information about EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit the program office webpage at: The webpage also features current funding opportunities including:

Disaster Recovery Resources & Info

Primary site for Disaster Recovery Assistance:

Funding Assistance for Recovery Efforts:

USDA FY18 Conservation Innovation Grants Avail for PR and USVI

USDA-NRCS-PR-CIG-001  USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has posted a Funding Opportunity for its FY18 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) – Caribbean Area. Applications will be accepted from eligible entities for projects carried out in the USDA Caribbean Area: Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. CIG grants are designed to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. A total of up to $250,000.00 is available for CIG in FY 2018. The maximum for a single award is $75,000.00.  FY18 Proposals must explicitly state which priority(ies) and sub-prority(ies) are being addressed. Caribbean Area CIG Priorities for FY 2018 are:

  1. Steep land Agricultural Technology;
  2. Renewable energy on Agricultural Enterprises and
  3. Risk Prevention and Management of Natural Resources affected by Natural Disasters.

See full announcement for subpriorities and additional instructions:

APPLICATIONS DUE by 4 p.m. Eastern Time on May 30, 2018. Submit electronically through In addition, a PDF of the complete application must be emailed to [email protected].

NIH RFA: Research on Health Risk and Resilience after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Applications Due April 16

RFA-MD-18-006 The purpose of this initiative is to support time-sensitive research on risk and resilience factors related to short and long-term health outcomes following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Applicant organizations must be U.S. organizations physically located in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. This initiative will use a shortened submission timeline with expedited peer review, council concurrence and award issuance. The entire cycle, from submission to award, is expected to be within 3-4 months. Application deadline is April 16. Following this link for more info: Apply Now

Funding Opportunity for Gulf Coast States Recovering from Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (AL, FL, LA, MS, TX). Deadline April 30.

Member agencies and states of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) may submit applications under the RESTORE ACT, to fund activities to enhance collaboration, coordination, public engagement, and use of best available science. Details are available at: Applications for project funding will be accepted until April 30, 2018


Updates on FEMA Response in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands


Where to Find Federal Disaster Declarations

  • Is your home, business or community included in a federally declared emergency or disaster area? You can find the latest federal emergency and disaster declarations, as well as prior declarations for other areas, on FEMA’s disaster declarations webpage.

Amended Declarations

Existing Declarations may be subsequently amended to expand covered areas, provide notification that an incident has been closed, or make other necessary changes.

These are posted in the Federal Register here:

Economic Recovery Support

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