One-Time Grants Awarded to Trade-Impacted Communities; Results Will Not Be Known until after 2013
September 26, 2012
What GAO Found
The Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) used its standard grant award process to announce, receive, and review applications for the Community Trade Adjustment Assistance (CTAA) program, with modifications related to program eligibility. To comply with legislative requirements, EDA reached out to eligible communities by identifying those with workers or firms already certified as trade impacted by other trade adjustment assistance programs. EDA awarded the grants in accordance with the review and selection process outlined in the CTAA federal funding opportunity--the program's grant application announcement. More than half of the grants were for construction projects, such as building roads and installing broadband fiber for industrial parks. Although EDA was able to adapt standard procedures already in place for its other grant programs, EDA officials cited some CTAA-specific challenges: first, the effort required to set up the new program for CTAA grants; second, a relatively limited time for the outreach and application process; and third, the development of a list of eligible communities for outreach, which proved to be a complex undertaking.