economic development

ARC POWER Initiative awards $47 million to diversify Appalachian economies

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently announced its largest POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative funding package. This funding package awards nearly $47 million to 52 projects in 181 counties to support economic diversification and mitigate job losses from coal-related industries in Appalachian communities. 

Pennsylvania governor awards $246 million for small businesses through SSBCI

Gov. Tom Wolf awarded $246.8 million to Pennsylvania local economic development partners through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) this week. The money is expected to help small, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses grow. The Pennsylvania Department of community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to partners who will administer the funding to qualifying businesses. The funding is divided between the Direct Venture Investment program ($123 million), which provides funding to economic development organizations that disburse it as seed and later-stage capital for companies, and the Revolving Loan fund program ($123.8 million), which provides funding to economic development organizations to create or capitalize loan funds to support small businesses.

Efforts underway in the states to capitalize on CHIPS funding

With President Biden’s signing the CHIPS and Science Act on Aug. 9, states and universities are already making plans to build on the funding opportunities present in the legislation. For example, a group of Midwest colleges and universities has formed a new coalition to support the advanced semiconductor and microelectronics industry as Intel begins construction on a microchip plant in Ohio, and multiple states are positioning themselves to compete for semiconductor manufacturing incentives — as encouraged by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. This article summarizes these early state actions (for recent federal activity, see SSTI’s coverage).

21 Build Back Better Regional Challenge winners announced

In what is being heralded as one of the most impactful regional economic development initiatives in decades, 21 coalition winners — including three SSTI members as coalition leads — of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge have been announced. Each of the awardees will receive between $25 million and $65 million to fund 123 projects designed to advance economies across 24 states. This investment, which will be matched by more than $300 million of local investment, is expected to create a regional economic strategy that is “greater than its parts,” according to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Recent announcements reveal “mega” trends in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing expansions

The recently approved Inflation Reduction Act with new incentives for electric vehicle ownership and energy efficiency is likely to continue a trend among states for the location of major economic development projects, a trend toward everything mega—megasites, megadeals, mega factories, and mega projects. These large-scale manufacturing projects typically feature incentives from state and local governments, such as access to shovel-ready megasites or large tax incentive packages. These new "mega" trends have raised the stakes and increased competition between states as they advocate for the bid of electric vehicle and battery companies looking to expand.

ARC launches $73.5 million grant initiative to grow regional economies in Appalachia

A new $73.5 million grant opportunity using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is aimed at growing and supporting the development of new economic opportunities across multiple states in Appalachia. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) launched the Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) on Aug. 23 to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across the region. ARC has published a request for proposals, which makes available at least $10 million in FY 2022 funding for planning grants with a maximum award size of $500,000, and up to $63.5 million for implementation grants with a $10 million maximum award size. ARC has released a toolkit to help guide potential applicants in considering their multistate proposals and will hold a pre-application workshop on Sept. 12.

NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines program releases info on all concept outlines, sets Type-2 award deadlines

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is breaking with tradition this week and for the first time released application data before it formally accepts applications for the NSF Engines program, which will provide up to $160 million of funding for up to 10+ years to establish each regional-scale innovation ecosystem Engine. The nearly 700 concept outlines have been published to help submitters in preparing successful proposals, with the belief that the applications and subsequent Engines will be strengthened if applicants are able to find one another and collaborate. NSF has also announced the Type-2 award deadlines for the Regional Innovation Engines program.

EDA announces up to $35 million in new funding opportunities for Economic Recovery Corps and Equity Impact Investments programs

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) last week announced a new funding opportunity that includes two programs designed to strengthen equitable economic development strategies across the country. One program will add staff resource to local organizations focused on improving economic resilience and competitiveness in distressed regions across the country, while the second will provide technical assistance to enable organizations serving underserved populations and communities to participate in economic development planning and projects.

Wind technologies hold economic potential

New modeling techniques and detailed data helped identify locations across the country with the highest potential for distributed wind energy of all forms. The study, which also modeled opportunities for distributed wind in disadvantaged communities and was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, could help communities transition to a clean energy future. Distributed wind energy refers to wind technologies deployed as distributed energy resources. These technologies are place-based solutions that support individuals, communities, and businesses transitioning to carbon-free electricity.

Connecticut launches $875M fund for economic development initiatives in underserved communities

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont launched the Community Investment Fund 2030 (CIF), a five-year grant program of up to $875 million to foster economic development in historically underserved communities across Connecticut. Eligible projects include capital improvements as well as small business support programs that provide revolving loans, gap financing, microloans, or start-up financing.

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