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January 03, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Two Tennessee communities selected for Recompete awards

Chattanooga is a double winner, Memphis also selected for the program targeting the hardest-hit and most economically distressed areas where prime-age (25 to 54 years) employment is significantly lower than the national average.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the 22 finalists of the “Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program” (Recompete) and 24 recipients of Strategy Development Grants (SDG) to help their communities significantly increase local coordination and planning activities. Such development could make selected grantees more competitive for future Recompete funding.

How did Tennessee do? It had two winners who will be able to compete for the the big bucks – $20 to $50 million each – and one of those also received an SDG award. The EDA news release incorrectly listed a project in Kentucky as being from the Volunteer State.

The Recompete program targets the hardest-hit and most economically distressed areas where prime-age (25 to 54 years) employment is significantly lower than the national average, with the goal to close this gap through flexible, locally-driven investments. Of the 22 finalists, seven are focused exclusively on rural American communities and five are led by or involve Tribal organizations as a primary partner. Additionally, seven Finalists’ plans involve labor organizations as part of their proposed investments.

  • The City of Chattanooga, in collaboration with several other organizations, was a double winner as it was named one of the 22 finalists for the big dollars as well as one of the recipients of a Strategy Development Grant. Both projects focus on the revitalization of the South Chattanooga/East Lake area that includes Alton Park, Clifton Hills, East Lake, and Oak Grove neighborhoods. The City is seeking approximately $20 million in funding to connect residents of the persistently distressed neighborhoods to good tech-related jobs. In addition to the City, the core partners include Hamilton County Government, Chattanooga 2.0, The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, The Benwood Foundation, and The Bethlehem Center. The $20 million proposal narrative is available here,
  • The Memphis Chamber Foundation is seeking about $20 million for its “Prosper Memphis 2030 Recompete Plan” to diversify the local economy and build pathways into growth industries. In addition to the Chamber, other partners include Delta Boule, Greater Memphis Chamber Industry Councils, University of Memphis, Southwest Community College, and Christian Brothers University. Click here to read the proposal.

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