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Detroit Region a Finalist in the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, Set to Compete for up to $100 Million

Map of USA showing finalists in the EDA's build back better regional challenge

Detroit Regional Partnership coalition awarded $500,000 planning grant around advanced mobility cluster. 

On December 13, the Detroit Regional Partnership (DRP) announced that it has successfully applied for a $500,000 planning grant and advanced to Phase 2 of the Economic Development Administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. A coalition led by the DRP will compete as one of 60 nationwide finalists for up to $100 million per grantee in American Rescue Plan Act funds for transformational economic programs that grow new industries or scale existing ones. 

“This region came together and put together a really compelling application around advanced mobility,” said Maureen Donohue Krauss, CEO of the DRP. “We are pleased with the result and ready to get to work with our regional partners on Phase 2. Given our region’s legacy of innovation and collective assets, we are eager to make our case to the EDA that there’s no better bet to accelerate this country’s economic recovery than the Detroit Region.” 

The DRP’s application highlighted how the 11-county region could leverage its automotive, engineering, design, and manufacturing strengths to create a smart, sustainable, and inclusive advanced mobility cluster. In Phase 2, finalists will compete for significant implementation assistance. EDA will award 20- 30 coalitions each up to $100 million. These awards will assist communities in executing ambitious plans to supercharge their regional economies across a variety of strategic growth sectors. The deadline for Phase 2 applications is March 15, 2022. 

EDA received 529 applications from regions in all 50 states and five territories, and the 60 finalists represent regions that formed extraordinary coalitions, demonstrated regional needs, and presented bold proposals to grow their target industry clusters. Ranging from rural communities and coastal towns to major metros, the finalists make up a diverse cross-section of the United States. 

The Detroit Region’s Phase 1 application outlined how it would help companies innovate and transition while securing the talent and infrastructure needed as electrification and autonomous technology redefine mobility. Projects under the region’s plan could include things such as a regional tech incubator, new proving and testing grounds, an advanced mobility innovation district, site readiness programs, and a radical inclusion accelerator. 

“We intentionally defined mobility to include both the advanced technology to physically move people and goods in new innovative ways, but also foster increased social and economic mobility,” Krauss said. “We feel our region is uniquely positioned to be the global leader in 

advanced mobility technology and creating a more equitable society – both which will create a more resilient state and country by creating jobs, investment and innovation.” 

The DRP served as the regional convener and lead applicant for the grant submitting the application on behalf of the region in October with 115 letters of support. The three-month effort brought together a coalition of over 65 members representing a cross-section of economic development, higher education, workforce development, businesses, government, labor, and community-based organizations. The William Davidson Foundation provided staff and financial support for weekly convenings of the coalition and grant-writing effort. 

As part of the process, applicants needed to form regional coalitions to submit projects organized under a single plan that foster economic growth and competitiveness through job creation, capacity building, and attracting private investment. The EDA is also placing a high priority on equity and inclusion, industry engagement, and sustainability. 

About the Detroit Regional Partnership 

The Detroit Regional Partnership is a public-private economic development partnership focused on marketing and business attraction for the 11-county Detroit Region. It serves as a convenient single point of contact to all regional resources and works with companies and site selectors to help manage their projects and support their transition into the region. It specializes in helping companies understand and access the competitive advantages of our region – from workforce data to state and local incentives. To learn more, visit: DetroitRegionalPartnership.com. 

About the American Rescue Plan Programs

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is one of many EDA programs aimed at building strong regional economies and supporting community-led economic development. Under the American Rescue Plan, EDA was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. 

American Rescue Plan funding enables EDA to provide larger, more transformational investments across the nation while utilizing its greatest strengths, including flexible funding to support community-led economic development. With an emphasis on equity, EDA investments made under the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit previously underserved communities impacted by COVID-19. For more information about EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs, visit eda.gov/ARPA.