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July 22, 2021 | Tom Ballard

EDA announces details of $3 billion “Investing in America’s Communities”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced yesterday that the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will implement a series of programs, collectively called “Investing in America’s Communities,” to equitably invest the $3 billion it received from President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan Act” to help communities across the country build back better.

As part of yesterday’s news release, it was noted that the EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades. Separately, SSTI, a national organization focused on science, technology and innovation, reported that the “Build Back Better Regional Challenge,” funded at $1 billion, “may be the most substantial opportunity for tech-based economic development (TBED) organizations, but each of the six can support innovation economies — particularly now that TBED is an explicit component of EDA’s investment priorities.”

In addition to the regional challenge which is designed to support “transformational” investment to 20 to 30 regions by catalyzing or scaling regional industry clusters, the other five components are:

  • Good Jobs Challenge” with $500 million focused on strengthening workforce programs through system development, program design and program implementation;
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance,” also at $500 million with a goal to make flexible investments in local economic development needs from planning to public works;
  • Indigenous Communities,” a $100 million initiative to assist Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities through Economic Adjustment Assistance activities;
  • Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation” with $750 million available to provide states with dedicated and competitive funds to support these industries; and
  • Statewide Planning, Research and Networks,” a $90 million program to fund states’ planning efforts ($59 million) as well as program research and stakeholder communities ($31 million).

In its email notice, SSTI said that additional details on the programs will be available as the formal notices of funding opportunities are published.

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