WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) today launched the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) competition. This program will create tech hubs in regions across the country by bringing together industry, higher education institutions, state and local governments, economic development organizations, and labor and workforce partners to supercharge ecosystems of innovation for technologies that are essential to our economic and national security. The program was authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act and is a key part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda, stimulating private sector investment, creating good-paying jobs, revitalizing American manufacturing, and ensuring no community is left behind by America’s economic progress.
This first Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) the Department is launching today will open applications for planning grants and Tech Hubs Designations. Later this year, the Department of Commerce will launch a second NOFO, for applicants designated as a Tech Hub to apply for implementation funding.
“The Tech Hubs program is a critical piece of President Biden’s Investing in America strategy, and will help us create ecosystems of innovation to strengthen economic opportunity in communities around the country that have historically been overlooked,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “We’re going to do that by supercharging our existing innovation foundations, bringing together our premier research institutions with world-class companies to create good-paying jobs in these communities, and ensuring the technological advances that define the next century are made in communities across America.”
The first notice of funding opportunity details the application process and outlines how the Commerce Department will evaluate those applications through a three-month window. Successful proposals will demonstrate a region’s capabilities in, and focus on, its primary technological strength and the potential for Tech Hubs investments to enable a region’s primary innovative industry to become a global leader in that critical technology area within a decade. Regions are not bound by specific borders, but rather focus on identifying sections of the country with the assets, resources, capacity, and potential to become globally competitive in critical technologies and industries. Applicants will select a technology industry to focus on that fits under the umbrella of a list of 10 Key Focus Areas identified within the Tech Hubs statute.
“It’s critically important to ensure that industries of the future start, grow, and remain in the U.S.,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “The Tech Hubs initiative will strengthen so much more than just tech industries: it will support and impact the people, workers, communities, and physical infrastructure that is essential to a Tech Hub region.”
The Tech Hubs Program is intended to advance the capacities of places to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy these technologies. Key priorities that guide the program include:
- Expanding Regional Economic Opportunity and Democratizing Technology Innovation: Tech Hubs seeks to make more U.S. regions strong competitors in the global innovation economy. Through strategic collaborations among regional partners, a geographically diverse network of Tech Hubs will allow more communities and more people to benefit from the opportunities tomorrow’s industries will create. Tech Hubs’ focus on regional consortia underscores EDA’s belief that collaborative, place-based solutions are the most successful means of accelerating growth and strengthening competitiveness.
The various types of eligible entities and requirements for forming a Tech Hubs application consortium are outlined at EDA.gov.
- Driving Economic Opportunity and Inclusive Economic Growth: The Tech Hubs program is committed to building strong communities that share in the prosperity technological innovations bring. The Commerce Department will look at how proposed Tech Hubs will ensure equitable access to good jobs for workers and increase opportunities for diverse business owners. Applicants are also expected to design their projects to minimize the potential for adverse impacts on the environment and the local community, including communities with environmental justice concerns.
- Building a Skilled, Diverse Workforce and Supply Chain: Recruiting, training, and retaining a skilled and diverse workforce is critical to strengthening U.S. technological competitiveness. Tech Hubs aims to spur the creation of new jobs and support opportunities for workers at all skill levels, working with labor unions and state and local workforce development organizations. Tech Hubs consortia will focus on holistic approaches to upskilling and training workers in the fields and industries of tomorrow, while strengthening supply chains to keep our stores, warehouses, and companies stocked with more American-made goods.
Read more about Tech Hubs and the first funding opportunity at EDA.gov.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.