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U.S. Sec. of Commerce delivers $6.4M in grants to Valley

Secretary Wilbur Ross visited Youngstown to tour America Makes and speak with local leaders in the business community.
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America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski, left, and Partnerships & Community Relations Director Erin O'Donnell give U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a tour of the facility Wednesday afternoon. (Jess Hardin/Mahoning Matters)

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning Valley will receive $6.4 million in small business assistance, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced at a press conference Wednesday. 

Ross visited America Makes and made the announcement after touring the facility.

Of the amount, $1.4 million from the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology will go to America Makes. The grant will fund the increased production of personal protective equipment. 

Additionally, Ross announced a $5 million federal CARES Act recovery grant was awarded to Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation to help area small businesses recover from financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland lauded the decision in a press release Wednesday. 

"As we continue to face the difficulties created by the COVID-19 crisis, this funding will be a lifeline for many businesses that are seeking the capital they need for continued success," Ryan wrote.

Ross estimated the country will experience “a very sharp V-shaped recovery assuming the coronavirus doesn’t get totally out of hand.”

He said the nation will bounce back quickly because federal aid went to individuals and small businesses — rather than banks, such as in the Great Recession — and because the economic downturn was not caused by economic forces. 

After the news conference, Ross was joined by local business leaders for a private roundtable discussion.


Jess Hardin

About the Author: Jess Hardin

Jess Hardin is a reporter for Mahoning Matters. She grew up in Pittsburgh and last worked at The Vindicator. Jess graduated from Georgetown University.
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