Business View Civil and Municipal | Volume 9, Issue 1

13 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 3, ISSUE 1 FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR $1 BILLION “BUILD BACK BETTER REGIONAL CHALLENGE” 60 Regional Coalitions will Each Compete for up to $100 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding to Rebuild America’s Communities U .S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo recently announced the 60 finalists for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $1 billion “ Build Back Better Regional Challenge ” – the marquee of EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs – that aims to boost economic pandemic recovery and rebuild American communities, including some that have been grappling with decades of disinvestment. The Build Back Better Regional Challenge provides transformative investments – up to $100 million per grantee – to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters across the country, all while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally. The 60 finalists – each a coalition of partnering entities – have proposed projects that will develop or scale industry sectors, develop and train the workforce of today, and build resilient economies. Finalists will now compete for Phase 2 of the Challenge, which will award 20-30 regional coalitions up to $100 million to implement 3-8 projects that support an industry sector. The deadline for Phase 2 is March 15, 2022. The recent finalists, chosen from a pool of 529 applicants , will each receive a grant of approximately $500,000 to further develop their proposed projects. These grants will help the finalists take their projects to the next level and position those who ultimately do not receive Phase 2 implementation awards to find new partners and sources of funding. The program has already catalyzed new partnerships and creative approaches to regional economic development. OPENING L INES