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Regional News at a Glance

Econ Focus
Second/Third Quarter 2020


In early July, Norwegian aquaculture firm AquaCon announced it will invest $1 billion over five years to build three Atlantic salmon indoor fish farming tank facilities on the Eastern Shore. AquaCon said it selected this strategic partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the University System of Maryland's Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology for its geographical, technological, and educational significance, including extensive research from UMBC marine biotechnology professor Yonathan Zohar.


The North Carolina Department of Commerce awarded Centene Corp. a Job Development Investment Grant that will reimburse Centene nearly $400 million for its East Coast regional headquarters and technology hub in Charlotte, which is likely to begin construction this year. Centene is a provider of health insurance to state and private health care programs. The $1 billion long-term investment will add an estimated 3,237 jobs in health care, technology, and administration.


Community Works, a nonprofit financial organization in Greenville, and Benedict College, a historically black college in Columbia, will soon host women's business centers to provide the state's women-owned small businesses with resources and opportunities to start, retain, or grow their businesses. Selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration, these two sites join more than 100 women's business centers throughout the country.


Gov. Ralph Northam announced that in January 2021, Virginia will join 10 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states as a full member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based cooperative with a mission to fight climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and advance the economy. With this announcement, Virginia becomes the first Southern state to participate in the RGGI, which requires the state to cap carbon dioxide emissions and limit pollution to achieve the cap or purchase allowances from an RGGI auction. The General Assembly passed legislation that allows the state to use these auction proceeds toward other environmentally conscious programs.


Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will issue a request for proposal later this year for the redevelopment of the Malcolm X Opportunity Center, a community center, as well as start the surplus process for redevelopments of the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, a city office building, and Hill East District, a 67-acre tract. Mayor Bowser's administration has said these projects will seek to advance equity in their selections of both contractors and tenants. The NAACP has announced that it will relocate its national headquarters to the Reeves Center.


In late June, Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to West Virginia University. As one of eight universities receiving the grant through NIFA's Sustainable Agricultural Systems program, the university will use the funding to research how to improve the nation's food supply. The research will focus on sustainability to support consumers, producers, and the economy, particularly those in rural areas who may have less access to inexpensive and healthy foods.

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