The Economic Development Administration (EDA), of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded more than $516,000 to TEEX for a statewide education program on sustainable and green economic development opportunities for rural and economically distressed areas of Texas.
The goal of the program is to increase awareness of green economic development and job creation opportunities among small businesses, entrepreneurs, economic developers and local leaders in non-metropolitan and distressed rural areas of Texas, said Economic Development Program Director Joan Quintana of TEEX’s Knowledge Engineering division, which is coordinating the project.
“The grant will support a series of informational conferences and training sessions to bring the latest knowledge and technical expertise on sustainable development practices to rural areas in the state,” Quintana said. “This is an environmentally friendly means of enhancing economic development in rural areas of Texas.”
Plans call for five sustainable development conferences during 2011 and 2012, with tentative locations in Ingleside, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Beaumont and Tyler.
The conferences will serve as a forum for federal and state agencies to present specific programs and assistance opportunities to targeted rural communities. Speakers will discuss topics such as energy-saving ideas, tax credits, state and federal incentives, financing tools, emerging job creation opportunities, and best practices.
Under the grant, TEEX will form a conference advisory council made up of Texas economic leaders and industry advisors who will assist with shaping conference messages and promotion. TEEX will also partner and collaborate with the business community, universities, state and federal agencies, trade associations, workforce boards, local government and non-governmental organizations that promote green economic development, Quintana said.
Some of these collaborators include the University of Texas – San Antonio Small Business Development Center and SBDC Networks, Texas Association of Regional Councils, Texas General Land Office, State Energy Conservation Office, Texas Departments of Agriculture and Energy, and the Greater East Texas Community Development Corp. among others.
The funding is part of the EDA’s Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund, which is intended to foster the green economy by promoting economic competitiveness while enhancing environmental quality.