(BLOOMINGTON, IN) - Former Bloomington Mayor John Fernandez is settling into an Obama Administration post trying to coax along efforts to jump-start local economies.
Fernandez is now an Assistant Secretary of Commerce overseeing federal funding for efforts to identify local economic strengths, much as Indiana has with Techpoint and the Indiana Life Sciences Initiative.
About $300 million dollars is expected to be available for infrastructure next year for plans the administration considers promising.
Fernandez says any realistic plan could receive funding, but notes the white house has said it especially wants to encourage green jobs and the harnessing of computer technology to improve health care.
The former mayor says he's personally interested in ways to bring rural and urban communities together.
The effort represents a shift in approach for the Economic Development Administration, created by the Johnson Administration in 1965 to assist job-creation efforts in communities with high jobless rates.
Fernandez was confirmed for the commerce department job three months ago.
He returns to Indiana Thursday to address the annual conference of the Indiana Economic Development Association in Indianapolis.
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