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Commerce Department Announces $3 Billion in Funding for Six Community Investment Programs

  • Department of Commerce announces six programs to invest in American communities
  • Initiatives include investments in workforce training, state grants, Indigenous communities, and more
  • Aims to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic while also reimagining their economic needs

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Department of Commerce has announced a $3 billion funding allocation aimed at supporting initiatives to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic while also reimagining their economic needs.

The department’s Economic Development Administration will establish the funding through six programs, collectively known as Investing in America’s Communities. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo described the effort as the “largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades.”

The six Notices of Funding Opportunity included in the effort are:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge: Will invest $1 billion in 20 to 30 communities to help accelerate economic recovery and inclusive economic growth through the development or new industries or planning of new ones. The funding will support initiatives in areas like planning, infrastructure development, workforce training, innovation and commercialization, and access to capital
  • Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grants: $750 million to assist with economic recovery in communities hardest hit by losses in the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation sectors
  • Good Jobs Challenge: Allocates $500 million to build and strengthen regional workforce training systems and sector-based partnerships, especially those supporting women, people of color, and historically underserved communities
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge: A $500 million grant program to support community efforts to put people to work on projects tailored to meet communities’ individual needs
  • Indigenous Communities Challenge: A $100 million effort to assist with economic recovery in Indigenous communities, which the Department of Commerce says were disproportionately affected by pandemic
  • $90 million in statewide planning, research, and networks grants

A total of $300 million is specifically directed to supporting coal communities. This set-aside aims to ensure that these communities have the resources available to recover from the pandemic and create new jobs and opportunities, including the potential development of new industry sectors.

Raimondo said the funds will “directly benefit communities that have been denied full access to economic prosperity and who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.” The EDA will make grants to state, local, and tribal governments, higher education institutions, not-for-profit entities, and unions. Individuals and for-profit entities are not eligible.

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