WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (NWNMCOG) a $988,400 grant to expand its current efforts to diversify the economy in Cibola, McKinley, and San Juan Counties. The EDA grant adds to $540,000 in state investment in the regional economic development group.
The grant will help NWNMCOG complete preliminary site studies for the Milan Industrial Park, an economic incubator designed to attract new business investment to the local community. The program is paired with funding to create a new curriculum for displaced workers to facilitate re-training and re-entry into the regional workforce.
“This grant will provide critical support for northwest New Mexico to diversify and grow the regional economy at a time of significant change for these communities,” Udall said. “I am dedicated to helping local economic development efforts like this one, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for federal funding that helps our New Mexico communities improve their economic opportunities by attracting new businesses and boosting job training.”
“I am proud to welcome this federal funding that will help train workers for growing fields and attract new businesses to northwestern New Mexico,” Heinrich said. “Hardworking families impacted by changes in the energy sector have earned our full support as we work to create new career opportunities and whole new industries in this region. I am fully committed to the long-term success of the evolving northwestern New Mexico economy.”
“Bolstering local economies is critical for the economic success of our state. I’m proud to announce this grant to invest in northwest New Mexico and build on efforts to grow jobs and the economy,” said Assistant Speaker Luján.
“Investing in a diverse economy in our state creates jobs and builds stability for our communities, but rural companies have more difficulties accessing tools to grow their businesses,” said Haaland. “This grant funding will not only provide local communities with job training and business development—it will also attract new industries so our entire state has access to economic prosperity.”
“It’s imperative that we find ways to diversify and support our region’s economy at both state and federal levels,” said Torres Small. “This important investment in local economic development efforts will help strengthen our workforce and expand new business opportunities. I remain committed to working with all sectors of our economy towards continued growth.”
The grant is part of the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC) program, through which EDA will award funds on a competitive basis to assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.
The Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments is an EDA-recognized Economic Development District that operates on behalf of the local governments of Cibola, McKinley, and San Juan Counties.