Economic Development_Technical Assistance


EDA oversees three technical assistance programs (National, Local and University Center) that promote economic development and alleviate unemployment, underemployment, and out-migration in distressed regions. These programs provide grants or cooperative agreements to: (1) invest in institutions of higher education to establish and operate University Centers to support initiatives that are focused on advancing: regional commercialization efforts; entrepreneurship; and a high-skilled regional workforce. provide technical assistance to public and private sector organizations with the goal of enhancing local economic development; (2) support innovative approaches to stimulate economic development in distressed regions; (3) disseminate information and studies of economic development issues of national significance; and (4) finance feasibility studies and other projects leading to local economic development. These programs aid the long-range economic development of regions with severe unemployment and low per capita income.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Commerce
Office: Economic Development Administration
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)
Program Accomplishments
Not Applicable.
Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (PWEDA) (42 U.S.C. § 3121 et seq.).
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Most technical assistance recipients are private or public nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. As defined in 13 C.F.R. § 300.3, 'eligible recipients' include a State, city, county, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of such political subdivision, an institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education, an Economic Development District organization, a private or public nonprofit organization or association, including a faith-based nonprofit organization, acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State, or an Indian Tribe, or a consortium of Indian Tribes. Individuals, companies, corporations, and associations organized for profit are not eligible. As used in this paragraph, 'State' includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. Program funds cannot be awarded to individuals and for profit organizations.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Investments are intended to finance projects that would be useful in alleviating or preventing conditions of excessive unemployment or underemployment.
To be considered for EDA investment assistance, applicants must first submit a complete EDA application package, as specified by the applicable Federal Funding Opportunity, which generally includes requirements for project narratives, budget narratives, and the resumes of key personnel. Non-profit applicants applying for technical assistance may be asked to provide additional documentation, including documentation of Good Standing in the State in which they operate. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Except for applications that have a national or multi-regional focus, applications are subject to the requirements of E.O. 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs” and implementing regulations at 13 CFR § 302.9.
Award Procedure
EDA will award investment assistance in accord with the procedures set forth in the applicable announcement of federal funding opportunity (FFO).
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
For National Technical Assistance and University Center competitions, the deadlines are set forth in the applicable FFO. For Local Technical Assistance, regional offices accept applications on a rolling basis. Approval or disapproval of an application is generally made within 4 months; in many cases, the timeline for award announcement in set forth in the applicable FFO.
Not Applicable.
Each fiscal year, two EDA regional offices will provide a five-year project period for each University Center selected for funding under the requisite competition, with the initial award being made for the first year of the project period. Funding beyond the initial year is dependent upon the availability of funds and satisfactory performance, as determined by EDA and expressed in written notice. The servicing EDA regional office will contact current University Center operators regarding the procedures for applying for continuation funding. National and Local Technical Assistance projects are typically funded for a single project period without any pre- set expectation of renewal. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at EDA's sole discretion.
How are proposals selected?
The evaluation criteria are set forth in the applicable FFO.
How may assistance be used?
Technical assistance is used to provide information, data, resources and toolkits which practitioners and policymakers can utilize when evaluating, shaping and implementing specific projects and programs to promote economic development efforts in their respective economically distressed regions. EDA announces opportunities to compete for funding to support University Centers through its annual Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) on University Centers, and the intent to support local technical assistance through its annual FFO on planning and local technical assistance. EDA may identify specific training, research or technical assistance projects it will fund under National Technical Assistance, which will be subject to competition. Ordinarily, these projects are specified in a FFO, which will provide the specific requirements, timelines and the appropriate points of contact and addresses. The EDA-supported University Center (UC) sub-program is specifically designed to marshal the resources located within colleges and universities to support job creation and economic growth in regions experiencing economic distress. UCs, which EDA considers long-term partners in economic development, are required to devote the majority of their funding to respond to technical assistance requests originating from organizations located in the economically distressed portions of their service regions. EDA-sponsored University Centers provide strategic technical assistance to regional partners; including, tribal entities, local governments, and public and private sector organizations; conduct economic impact assessments; support cluster development and conduct cluster studies; facilitate regional collaboration; support commercialization and technology transfer efforts; and undertake other activities with the goal of enhancing regional economic development by promoting a favorable business environment to attract private capital investment and higher-skill, higher-wage jobs.. EDA University Center competitions are held once every five years in each EDA Region. The project must be consistent with the CEDS of the region in which it is located, if applicable. At least eighty (80) percent of EDA funding under a University Center Economic Development award must be allocated to direct costs of program delivery; unrecovered indirect costs are not chargeable to the award without EDA’s express approval. All EDA grants are competitive: EDA does not award formula grants. The Local Technical Assistance (Local TA) sub-program, one of EDA’s smallest programs in terms of funding, is an extremely flexible and useful economic development tool. The most common purpose of a Local TA project has been to analyze the feasibility of a potential economic development project, such as an industrial park or a high-technology business incubator, or to support other critical studies necessary for economic development professionals to make informed business decisions, including economic impact assessments. The National Technical Assistance sub-program is designed to provide economic development professionals with access to tools and resources on cutting edge economic development concepts that can inform their decision-making and help support good decision making which will lead to strong, vibrant economic development and regional prosperity. Through this program, EDA provides a wide array of resources, including a cluster mapping tool (, a website to identify innovation index of self-selected communities and compare against other geographies (, and a resource to help support best practices among venture development organizations (VDOs) ( The project must be consistent with the CEDS of the region in which it is located, if applicable. All EDA grants are discretionary. EDA does not award formula grants.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
No program reports are required. No cash reports are required. Project progress and financial reports are required, generally on a quarterly basis, as required by the Special Terms and Conditions governing the award. EDA requires the submission of the SF-425 Federal Financial Report. EDA reviews progress and financial reports for compliance with all award terms and conditions, as well as EDA regulations. EDA reserves the right to conduct site visits on an as-needed basis.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. The applicant is reminded that EDA or the Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General also may conduct an audit of an award at any time.
All financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical reports, and other records of recipients and sub-recipients are required to be maintained by the terms of the agreement.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
Matching Requirements: Generally, the amount of the EDA award may not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Projects may receive an additional amount that shall not exceed 30 percent, based on the relative needs of the region in which the project will be located, as determined by EDA. See section 204(a) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. § 3144) and 13 C.F.R. § 301.4(b)(1). The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development has the discretion to establish a maximum EDA investment rate of up to one-hundred (100) percent where the project (i) merits and is not otherwise feasible without an increase to the EDA investment rate; or (ii) will be of no or only incidental benefit to the recipient. See section 204(c)(3) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. § 3144) and 13 C.F.R. § 301.4(b)(4). In-kind contributions, fairly evaluated by EDA, may provide the non-federal share of the total project cost.
This program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Generally, the University Center Program funds applications on a five-year basis with continuation awards made for each of the three years within a project period. The length of the project period for National and Local Technical Assistance projects varies, but is usually for a period of one to two years. Funds are disbursed as required. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: In accordance with the grant terms and conditions.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices.
Headquarters Office
David Ives 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Room 71030, Washington, District of Columbia 20230 Email: Phone: 202-482-0529
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 14 $19,479,619; FY 15 est $11,000,000; and FY 16 Estimate Not Available
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
The average size of a Local Technical Assistance investment has been approximately $64,000, and investments generally range from $50,000 to $300,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
13 C.F.R. parts 300-302, 306.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not Applicable.


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