$1B economic development challenge includes 2 from NC

FILE - A ventilator is assembled at the Ford Rawsonville plant, May 13, 2020, in Ypsilanti Township, Mich. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, is announcing 60 finalists for $1 billion in economic development grants tied to the Biden administration's coronavirus relief package and aimed at improving job training and regional industry partnerships. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced 60 finalists for $1 billion in economic development grants tied to the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief package and aimed at improving job training and regional industry partnerships. 

The Biden administration will ultimately choose 20 to 30 regional coalitions for up to $100 million in grants that could shape manufacturing, clean energy and life sciences hubs around the country. 

There were 529 applicants for the grants. That means roughly 11% of submissions made it to the next round, which will ultimately choose 20 to 30 regional coalitions for up to $100 million in grants that could shape manufacturing, clean energy and life sciences hubs around the country.

“This program will bring communities back in regions across America,” Alejandra Castillo, assistant commerce secretary for economic development, said in an interview. She said the program was designed to bring different local partners together “to leverage their assets.”

The finalists will receive $500,000 each to help plan for the next round, with applications due in March. The deadline for choosing the winners is September. 

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center and Piedmont Triad Regional Council both moved to the next round for plans involving advanced-manufacturing initiatives.