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U.S. Department of Commerce invests $2.8 million in CARES Act assistance to create LNG Center of Excellence in Lake Charles

McNeese State University
McNeese State University(MSU)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 2:17 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.8 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the McNeese State University Foundation in Lake Charles to construct a Center of Excellence to serve as a hub of resiliency for the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) industry and better enable the region to respond to future economic disruptions, including pandemics and natural disasters.

The Department of Commerce says the EDA grant, to be matched with $687,500 in local funds, is expected to create 112 jobs and generate $6.3 billion in private investment.

“President Biden remains steadfast in his commitment to providing local communities with the resources necessary to ensure that they not only recover from this pandemic but build back stronger,” Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said. “This EDA investment will create jobs and spur private investment so that Lake Charles can prepare for and respond to economic downturns experienced by COVID-19 and natural disasters like hurricanes.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” Jorge Ayala, Director of EDA’s Austin Regional Office said. “The LNG Center of Excellence will allow leaders in the industry to produce standards, best practices, and policy as it relates to natural disasters, economic downturns, and safety as well as train workers for well-paying jobs, creating a stronger, more resilient regional economy.”

“Louisiana is an LNG leader, and I welcome this investment in the McNeese State University Foundation to support Louisiana jobs and our state’s status as an energy powerhouse,” Senator John Neely Kennedy said.

“Southwest Louisiana is the epicenter of the American LNG industry. The partnership between McNeese State University and local industry is critical for our region,” Congressman Clay Higgins (LA-03) said. “The McNeese LNG Center of Excellence will deliver greater support for the local LNG industry through workforce development, specialized training, and applied research. This is a welcome investment that will help create good-paying jobs and increase private investment.”

The Department of Commerce says this project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

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