As policymakers at all levels seek to rebuild the economy on a stronger, more inclusive foundation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal policymakers are increasingly supporting bottom-up solutions as critical pathways for spurring economic recovery, mitigating climate change, establishing supply chains in critical technologies, and addressing geographic inequities. This is the central premise for place-based economic policies like the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC)—a challenge grant administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. As the EDA’s signature American Rescue Plan (ARP) recovery program, the BBBRC provides five-year grants ranging from $25 million to $65 million across 21 competitively selected regions. These investments will support the local development of nationally-critical industries and technologies in ways that deliver economic opportunity to traditionally underserved people and communities.
As part of an applied research partnership with the EDA, Brookings Metro is publishing previously recorded discussions focused on the BBBRC’s design and selection phase, as well as a new report analyzing the competition’s design and initial response and its implications for economic policymakers and practitioners. Don Graves, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, as well as two BBBRC winners will highlight how the place-based initiatives and policies emerging from BBBRC are ushering in a new era of national problem-solving, across geographies and in service of economic inclusion.
This event was prepared by Brookings Metro using federal funds under award ED22HDQ3070081 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.