Carina Boston Pinales
Downtown Association President selected for economic fellowship
Splash Coworking founder and president of the Downtown Association of San Marcos Carina Boston Pinales was selected as a Fellow in the first Economic Recovery Corps Program.
The Economic Recovery Corps Program is a multi-year, collaborative initiative hosted by the International Economic Development Council and designed to accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in distressed communities and regions throughout the U.S. by connecting organizations with the talent and capacity needed to advance new ways of doing economic development that promote economic resilience and transformative change.
“This opportunity has come forth because of how trusting and supportive my local community has been throughout the time that I have professionally contributed to the community,” Boston Pinales said. “I am so excited to learn new opportunities and resources that will benefit San Marcos and the surrounding area.”
Boston Pinales will work in collaboration with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Commerce on a project that navigates economic development in the Pacific paradise of CNMI. With approximately 47,000 residents across three islands, the region grapples with post-typhoon recovery and economic diversification challenges. Addressing a 14% unemployment rate, limited capital access for small businesses, and a dependency on Asia-centric tourism, the project is vital to combating these challenges. The ERC project’s vision includes expanding and developing industries beyond tourism, reducing unemployment, supporting small businesses, increasing access to capital and resource capacity, particularly benefiting indigenous CNMI residents. The ERC Fellow's role will support strategic planning, securing funding, grant strategies, community outreach and project management, leading to a new era of prosperity, economic diversification and resilience for the CNMI community.
“The infrastructure I have built here in San Marcos is really what helped me get this opportunity,” Boston Pinales said. “Especially what we did working with public and private responsibilities during emergencies like COVID-19 and the freeze, which ultimately empowers local entrepreneur and the local economies. Our problems are the same problems other communities have just at different varieties and scales.”
Launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, ERC is designed to build capacity in some of the hardest-hit and most economically distressed areas across the United States while cultivating the next generation of economic development leaders.
“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,” Nathan Ohle President & CEO of IEDC, said. “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,” Nathan Ohle, President & CEO of IEDC, said. “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.”
This month, 65 Fellows will commence their two-anda- half-year field placements with host organizations across the nation. Fellows will spearhead catalytic projects that advance new ways of doing economic development to build more resilient, inclusive, and equitable economies. The ERC program will officially launch with a four-day training and networking event in Portland, Oregon next week.
Boston Pinales was one of 65 applicants selected from more than 1,500.
“Officially starting in February 2024, she joins 65 ERC Fellows and Host Sites coming together as a nationwide network of diverse practitioners and leaders with the passion, skills and vision to advance new ways of doing economic development that promote transformative change and lead to a more just, equitable, and sustainable economy for all,” a press release announcing the selection said. “We are excited for her to play a role in supporting The Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands with the CNMI Department of Commerce project, Sailing to Prosperity in the Northern Mariana Islands”