Padilla Highlights American Rescue Plan Grant Recipients in Fresno

Padilla touts American Rescue Plan investments during event in the Central Valley

FRESNO, CA — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) today joined Biden Administration officials and local leaders in Fresno to celebrate the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) historic investments in the Central Valley. Two groups in the Central Valley were recently awarded grants by the EDA totaling over $88 million. These grants were made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which Senator Padilla voted for last year. The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) Coalition was awarded $65 million as part of the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, and the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation was awarded $23 million as part of the EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge.

“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the U.S. Economic Development Administration is delivering $88 million to spur agricultural innovation, boost job training and job creation, and encourage economic development in the Central Valley,” said Senator Padilla. “While there are still challenges ahead, the American Rescue Plan is once again bringing investments to communities who need them, and new jobs to hardworking Americans in the region who deserve them.”

“EDA is proud to support the vision of the FresnoMerced Future of Food Innovation (F3) Coalition and its partners,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This groundbreaking investment will drive innovation in one of the country’s most important agricultural regions.”

“Today was a historic day for the Central Valley, and we are grateful to Senator Padilla and Assistant Secretary Castillo for joining us here in the heart of California to celebrate over $88M of investment from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan programs,” said Ashley Swearengin, President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation. “The Central Valley is the unrivaled food production region of the nation, and now with over $65M in funding for F3 – the Future of Food Innovation initiative – we can address economic, agricultural, and climate challenges, and prioritize our Valley’s ag-based industry. We are grateful to Senator Padilla for his ongoing support of the Central Valley, and for championing investment in our region so that the people and farmers who feed our nation can be competitive, resilient, and sustainable for generations to come.”

Senator Padilla wrote the Department of Commerce to support the F3 Coalition’s grant application in October 2021 and March 2022. EDA funding will support the launch of iCREATE, an ag-tech hub with the mission of accelerating the development and transfer of technology between researchers at local universities and farmers across the region. At the same time, community colleges throughout the Central Valley will receive access to training and new technology to equip students and workers with the skills needed to access higher quality, higher paying jobs in ag-tech—improving both farm productivity and wages.

A recording of Padilla’s remarks is available here.


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