White House Unveiled Winners of $1B Economic Development Challenge
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday saluted the winners of the administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, a contest intended to spur regional economic development while promoting job creation and the next generation of clean energy and biotechnology.
During remarks delivered in the South Court Auditorium of the Old Executive Office, Biden said the 21 awardees span 24 states and will receive between $25 million and $65 million to execute transformational projects and revitalize local industries.
Projects include developing workforce training programs and connecting workers to jobs; providing support to family owned manufacturers to transition from traditional automotives to electric vehicles; establishing a digital finance sector to support small businesses in tribal communities; providing digital resources to small farms; and renovating and repurposing industrial buildings for new businesses.
Additionally, private sector companies and local organizations are investing an additional $300 million in these local projects.
“Since day one, President Biden has been laser-focused on ensuring that economic opportunity is delivered to all Americans, especially communities that have grappled with decades of disinvestment or suffered economic distress exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a written statement.
“As we invest and grow critical industries in the U.S., we want to create industry hubs in diverse communities across the country,” Raimondo continued. “These grants will provide critical and historic funding directly to community coalitions to invest in new infrastructure, research and development, and workforce development programs while creating good-paying jobs, supporting workers, and prioritizing equity.”
Equity was a key consideration for project finalists, with a focus on rural, tribal and coal communities, as well as communities facing high and persistent poverty, administration officials said.
Funding awards include $87 million to two primarily tribal coalitions and, as part of EDA’s $300 million Coal Community Commitment, and over $150 million for projects serving energy communities impacted by the declining use of fossil fuels.
These grants will support 236 rural counties, 136 persistent poverty counties, and 121 counties that include tribal areas.
In addition, over $270 million of the funding will be allocated to develop workforce training and development programs and place workers in jobs.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge winners are:
- Central Valley Community Foundation (California): $65.1 million for the F3 – Fresno-Merced Future of Food.
- City of Manchester (New Hampshire): $44 million for The BioFabrication Cluster.
- Coalfield Development (West Virginia): $62.8 million for the Appalachian Climate Technologies Initiative.
- Detroit Regional Partnership Foundation (Michigan): $52.2 million for the Global Epicenter of Mobility.
- Empire State Development (New York): $25 million for Western New York’s Advanced Manufacturing Cluster.
- Four Bands Community Fund (South Dakota): $45 million for the Mountain | Plains Regional Native CDFI Coalition.
- Georgia Tech Research Corporations (Georgia): $65 million for GA-AIM.
- Greater New Orleans Development Foundation (Louisiana): $50 million for H2theFuture.
- Greater St. Louis, Inc. (Missouri): $25 million for the St. Louis Tech Triangle.
- Indian Nations Council of Governments (Oklahoma): $39 million for the Tulsa Regional Advanced Mobility Cluster.
- Invest Nebraska Corporation (Nebraska): $25 million for the Heartland Robotics Cluster.
- North Carolina Biotechnology Center (North Carolina): $25 million for Accelerate NC – Life Sciences Manufacturing.
- Oklahoma City Economic Development Foundation (Oklahoma): $35 million for the Oklahoma Biotech Innovation Cluster Initiative.
- Osceola County Board of County Commissioners (Florida): $50.8 million for Building Central Florida’s Semiconductor Cluster for Broad-Based Prosperity.
- Port of Portland (Oregon): $41.4 million for the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition.
- Southeast Conference (Alaska): $49 million for the Alaska Mariculture Cluster.
- Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative (Pennsylvania): $62.7 million for the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative.
- The State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton (New York): $63.7 million for New Energy New York.
- The University of Texas at El Paso (Texas): $40 million for the West Texas A&D Cluster.
- Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority (Virginia): $52.9 million for the VA BIO Advanced Pharma Manufacturing and R&D.
- Wichita State University (Kansas): $51.4 million for the South Kansas Coalition.
The 21 BBBRC winners were chosen from 60 EDA-designated finalists that each received approximately $500,000 in funding and technical assistance to continue developing their cluster strategies. The funding for each coalition listed above is approximate, with the actual awards to be signed later in September.