At a recent HUBZone small business event in Gary, Ind., I joined the regional administrators from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to connect with local small business owners and discuss how they can work with the federal government.
While this event was an opportunity for federal agencies to engage with the small business community, I was reminded of all that we as federal partners have done in support of Gary. The Chicago Federal Executive Board has provided a great platform for federal agencies to coordinate and develop strategies on place based activities. Since 2011, the federal government has been active in the city of Gary, bringing numerous resources to the community and helping to create partnerships with local nonprofits and foundations already making an impact.
And as part of these federal efforts, GSA has made an impact, too. We’ve donated computers to public schools through our Computers for Learning program, we’ve trained the Gary Schools superintendent and staff on accessing personal property through our excess programs, we’ve trained the city’s Department of Commerce staff on how they can purchase goods and services from GSA schedules, and we participated in the city’s first local and federal government economic partnership forum.
In 2014, Gary became a part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), a White House initiative that aims to strengthen neighborhoods, towns, cities and regions around the country by building capacity within local governments to develop and execute their economic vision and strategies. SC2 bolsters local governments by providing necessary technical assistance and access to federal agency resources, and creating new public and private sector partnerships.
As I reflect back on our work in Gary, I’m proud to see that the power of partnership has made a true impact. All told, through the federal government’s investment and with community partnerships, more than $20 million has been invested in Gary’s future. I’m confident that the foundation the federal government has set is solid for the City of the Century’s bright future.