December 20, 2023

Kilmer-Led Program to Spur Economic Growth and Create Jobs Nationwide Delivers Historic Federal Funding for Economically Distressed Communities Across America

U.S. Economic Development Administration Awards First Grants as Part of Rep. Kilmer’s Recompete Pilot Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) applauded an announcement from the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding historic federal funding for distressed communities across the U.S., administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program (Recompete Pilot Program). EDA also named 22 communities, including the North Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, as finalists for Phase 2 grants, which range between $20 and $50 million.

The Recompete Pilot Program was established by Rep. Kilmer’s Rebuilding Economies and Creating Opportunities for More People Everywhere to Excel Act (RECOMPETE Act), which was signed into law by President Biden in July 2022 as part of the CHIPS and Science Act. The Recompete Pilot Program aims to support local economic development, create quality jobs, invest in workers and businesses, and ensure sustainable success and economic growth by providing targeted assistance and resources to address the unique challenges of persistently distressed communities.

“Growing up on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, I saw a lot of folks in my community and my region lose their jobs when the timber industry took it on the chin. I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to figure out how to make sure we do a better job of protecting workers and communities so that no one gets left behind in our society and economy. That’s why I ran for public office, and why I drafted the RECOMPETE Act” said Rep. Kilmer. “Today, as we see the Recompete Pilot Program deliver investments in communities that have faced long-term economic challenges, it’s a significant milestone not just for the region I represent, but for folks who’ve seen similar economic distress in communities across America. The Recompete Pilot Program is a testament to our collective efforts to ensure every American, no matter their zip code, has access to economic opportunity. I want to extend my profound gratitude to President Biden, Secretary Raimondo, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Castillo, for their unwavering leadership and support in bringing this vision to life and taking steps to build an economy where no community is left behind.”

“Recompete helps fulfill President Biden’s promise that no community in America will be left behind as we continue to grow our nation’s economy and invest in American workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “These Recompete finalists and grant recipients have presented a wide range of inspiring solutions to create jobs, develop long-term economic growth, and realize the full potential in communities that for too long have been overlooked or counted out.”

“This funding is great news for the Olympic Peninsula as they move forward with this process,” said U.S. Senator Patty Murray. “Bringing the Recompete funding home to the peninsula would be a game changer for our communities and this initial award is a big step in the right direction. This is about making sure every part of Washington state can count on good paying jobs and see real economic opportunity. I want to commend Congressman Kilmer especially for leading the way to make this grant program a reality."

“These awards will help communities across the nation plan the next era of their economies and build out crucial industries, increasing the number of stable and high-paying jobs,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. “Today’s announcement also means that 22 communities are now eligible to compete for up to $50 million in federal funding to implement their new economic development plans. Washington is an innovation state, but we didn’t become a powerhouse overnight – we built our workforce and grew our collaborative partnerships over decades. Programs like Recompete will help communities across the United States tap into their talent, expertise, and innovation.”

The Recompete Pilot Program was adopted into the CHIPS and Science Act, a sweeping investment in American innovation and manufacturing led by Sen. Cantwell.

Rep. Kilmer’s RECOMPETE Act, which established the Recompete Pilot Program, was endorsed by a bipartisan group of more than 50 members of Congress and is endorsed by the Economic Innovation Group, Federal Issues Committee of the Washington State Association of Counties, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, New Democrat Coalition, Progressive Policy Institute, Reimagine Appalachia, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Rural Organizing, Third Way, and U.S. Conference of Mayors.

About the Recompete Pilot Program:

Phase 1 of the Recompete Pilot Program will invest in persistently distressed communities to create and connect people to good jobs. This program will create renewed economic opportunity in communities that have for too long been forgotten. To do so, the program targets areas where prime-age (25-54 years) employment significantly trails the national average to close this gap through large, flexible investments. As part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s place-based economic development approach, the Recompete Pilot Program aims to meet communities where they are by offering grant opportunities that ensure sustainable and equitable economic growth across the U.S.

Recompete Finalists will compete in Phase 2 of the competition, with 4-8 Recompete Plans ultimately receiving implementation funding averaging between $20 and $50 million.

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