Economic Recovery Corps Fellowship Launches Across the U.S.


The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon (PACCO) is pleased to announce it has been selected as a host organization for the inaugural Economic Recovery Corp (ERC) Fellowship program.

About ERC

The Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) Fellowship program aims to build capacity in economically distressed areas across the U.S. while cultivating the next generation of economic development leaders. The program connects 65 host sites nationwide with diverse practitioners and leaders with the passion, skills, and vision to create new ways of doing economic development. The ERC Fellowship was launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). It is led by the International Economic Development Council and supported by 6 other national economic development organizations.

From over 500 hosts applications, we were among 65 host sites selected to receive help in advancing a project critical to the economic recovery of our community. ERC projects represent the interconnectedness between economic development and the pressing needs in communities of all sizes, including workforce development, entrepreneurial ecosystem building, housing, childcare, climate resiliency, broadband, and access to capital.

Each project across the U.S. receives a dedicated fellow (fully funded for 2.5 years from the ERC program) who serves as a field catalyst to enhance, strengthen, and coordinate relationships and local efforts alongside the host community. We are delighted to be matched with a Fellow, who brings a wealth of expertise and passion to help us and local stakeholders on PACCO’S project for the next 2.5 years. Ayisat Abilogun will be living and working in our community, so they will be embedded in the local fabric of our region.

About Our Project

Our project is designed to fortify local businesses against economic upheavals, such as those seen in the recent pandemic, by providing them with the tools and strategies needed to enhance their resilience and maintain stability during challenging times. By focusing on the integration of local enterprises into the global marketplace, we aim to tap into the untapped potential within our community, fostering sustained growth and opening new avenues for economic development.

Furthermore, we will concentrate on strengthening the partnerships between community economic organizations and economic professionals or practitioners to ensure efficient resource allocation and the creation of a unified economic ecosystem. By identifying and bridging partnership gaps, our project seeks to enhance collaboration and effectiveness, thereby fostering a more resilient and prosperous local economy. This strategic approach will not only improve collaboration but also increase the overall effectiveness of our community’s economic endeavors, ensuring a robust foundation for future growth.

“We are thrilled to have been selected and are looking forward to working closely with our ERC Fellow,” said Joseph Eustaquio, PACCO Board Chair. “Collaborating with business and community organizations as partners in our economic development ecosystem is key to strengthening the retention and growth of small and medium size businesses in our region. We’re eager to start, particularly with Portland as host city to the ERC Fellowship Kick-Off Orientation gathering occurring February 12-15, 2024,” said PACCO President Jan Mason.

President and CEO of International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Nathan Ohle, said of the program, “ERC is more than a fellowship; it is a testament to the power of collaboration and strategic partnerships deeply needed to produce lasting social and economic impact. By joining forces with national partners, host organizations, funders, and practitioners eager for new models and practices, ERC will build capacity in places of need while supporting the next generation of economic development leaders all while driving more equitable economic outcomes,” said Nathan Ohle, President & CEO of IEDC. “By investing in capacity building and leadership development, facilitating knowledge sharing and partnerships, the ERC program will set the stage for the future of economic development and a new age of collaboration in the economic development field.”

About PACCO:
PACCO is a welcoming and inclusive community organized to build generational wealth to empower economic resiliency, affordable sustainability, and purpose-driven global commerce, especially for historically under- represented businesses through relevant, impactful programs and meaningful connections.

By grounding our efforts in equity and inclusion, we promote economic opportunity, education, professionalism, and civic engagement by providing scholarships, leadership training programs, and technical assistance. PACCO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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