2020 Investments Represent Commitment to PA Workforce and a Brighter Economic Future
A Year-End Recap of Activity by the Department of Community and Economic Development
Harrisburg, PA – While 2020 presented incredible challenges for Pennsylvania and the world, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin today offered a message of hope for the coming year — Pennsylvania is resilient, and the investments we made this year will usher in a new year of recovery and promise.
“Over the past year, DCED staff worked tirelessly to ensure that Pennsylvania’s businesses and communities continued to have access to the programs and services they’re used to, while also ensuring that they could tap into new resources as we faced the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Davin. “The Wolf Administration has remained committed to providing every opportunity and avenue for assistance to our neighborhoods and the businesses that call them home, and that commitment will position us as we continue to work toward economic recovery.”
DCED worked closely with the administration to allocate Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding across the commonwealth, including $225 million for Small Business Assistance and $50 million for Hazard Pay for frontline workers. The COVID-19 Capital Working Access Program (CWCA) provided $60 million in loans to small businesses, the administration deferred loan repayments for businesses, awarded $324 million to 31 hospitals across the commonwealth through the Hospital Emergency Loan Program, and awarded $10 million in grant funding to 23 awardees through the COVID-19 Vaccines, Treatments and Therapies (CV-VTT) program to support the rapid advancement of vaccines, treatments and therapies.
Additionally, the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services (CLGS) assisted in quickly providing much needed critical aid to local communities through the approval of 60 county applications in five days and through the distribution of $625 million in CARES Act funding.
Investments in our communities helped ensure that the department can achieve its mission of making Pennsylvania a place where people can work smart and live happy. Eighty-six Keystone Communities projects and more than 200 Neighborhood Assistance Program projects were approved over the past fiscal year, improving the quality of life for communities across the commonwealth.
CLGS approved and processed nearly $228,000 in funding for six municipal projects through the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP). Funding from MAP helps local governments plan for and efficiently implement municipal projects in shared services, community planning, and floodplain management.
Job retention and creation remained a priority for the department this year through its economic development and business expansion programs. During calendar year 2020, the Governor’s Action Team (GAT) successfully completed 29 projects resulting in $2.307 billion in private investment, 4,873 jobs created, and 11,183 jobs retained. Sixty-one percent of those jobs were in manufacturing.
This year, Pennsylvania remained committed to building a world class workforce. Through the workforce training program (WEDnet), 543 businesses received assistance, and training was provided to more than 27,000 Pennsylvania workers. This resulted in an investment of more than $5 million in workforce training and development. Additionally, the Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program awarded 16 grants totaling nearly $1.4 million, and the Manufacturing Training to Career Program awarded seven grants totaling nearly $1.2 million.
The Office of International Business Development (OIBD) contributed to the growth and strength of the commonwealth’s economy in 2020 by attracting 13 international companies to invest and open their business in Pennsylvania, pledging 604 new jobs to be created, the retention of more than 900 jobs, and $73.7 million in capital investment. OIBD also provided value-added export business development services to 603 Pennsylvania companies to facilitate exports, completed 966 projects and reported $188.2 million in export sales to buyers globally.
Since January, Pennsylvania’s Business One-Stop Shop — the first point of contact for Pennsylvania business development concerns that helps connect and guide businesses through all stages of development, from planning and startup to operating and expanding — has generated more than 145,000 unique visits to the website and receiving critical buy-in and support from partners across the commonwealth like Small Business Development Centers.
The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority awarded $4 million to the four Ben Franklin Technology Partners to be matched with an additional $4 million for a total of $8 million to provide zero interest loans, grants, and investments to companies whose operations were negatively impacted by COVID-19. To date, 191 companies have received more than $7.7 million to continue to grow and thrive.
In April, BFTDA established the COVID19 Venture Loan Program to alleviate cash shortages experienced by start-ups sponsored by the BFTDA. Many of these start-ups are reliant on continued funding from third-party investors due to their lack of maturity. Eligible companies needed to be domiciled in Pennsylvania with demonstrated COVID-related setbacks, and BFTDA awarded $8.2 million to 11 venture managers covering a total of 30 companies.
The PA Manufacturing Innovation Program awarded $174,603 to four Pennsylvania universities engaged in the rapid development and deployment of new technologies, products, and processes with the potential to positively impact the commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority (PEDFA) issued tax-exempt and taxable bonds for seven projects totaling $518,260,267, helping to create and retain more than 59,000 jobs in the commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) approved $44,502,915 in low-interest loans that resulted in $78,095,857 in private investment and supported 1,434 created and retained full-time jobs. More than $8 million in guarantees were approved through the Next Generation Farmer Loan Program in 2020, helping the next generation of farmers finance the purchase of their farms.
Additionally, since the beginning of 2020, DCED’s Engage! partners have conducted 3,458 surveys. Engage! is a statewide, industry-driven initiative featuring a robust team of experienced professionals who proactively listen to businesses across the state to identify their opportunities and challenges and offer targeted technical assistance and solutions. Beginning in March, Engage!, which typically conducts in-person surveys, shifted almost entirely to virtual methods to proactively call upon Pennsylvania businesses. These surveys lead to the development of customized Action Plans which often involve referrals to DCED’s network of economic and workforce development partners.
The Department of Community and Economic Development’s mission is to encourage the shared prosperity of all Pennsylvanians by supporting good stewardship and sustainable development initiatives across our commonwealth. With a keen eye toward diversity and inclusiveness, department staff act as advisors and advocates, providing strategic technical assistance, training, and financial resources to help Pennsylvania’s communities and industries flourish.
Casey Smith, DCED, firstname.lastname@example.org