The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is awarding $1 million grants to 30 states and territories through its American Rescue Plan, which aims to provide Americans with direct COVID-19 relief by boosting statewide economic development and planning.
Funding from the grants will be used to accelerate pandemic-related economic recovery efforts specific to each awarded state, including skills-gap analysis programs, broadband planning and innovation cluster development programs, among other initiatives, the department said Thursday.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the funding from the Statewide Planning Program will lay the groundwork for the White House’s Build Back Better agenda to build and maintain resilient economies and remain competitive on a global scale.
“The Biden Administration is giving states and territories the unprecedented opportunity to bring all their communities together to develop comprehensive plans to build back better and stronger,” Raimondo explained.
Specifically, Alejandra Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, said the grants will assist state and territory leaders in addressing “workforce training, business recruitment, capital access, infrastructure, broadband, entrepreneurial growth, economic diversification,” and other challenges.
The EDA’s Statewide Planning Program is one of six programs designed to distribute its $3 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan stimulus package passed in March 2021.
Of the 59 states and territories invited to apply for a $1 million grant, the awardees include:
- American Samoa
- Washington, D.C.
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- Puerto Rico
- South Dakota