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  • Writer's pictureHBCU CARES

HBCU CARES Serves as Thought-Partner in City of Birmingham's Effort to Drive Economic Development in Underserved Communities

More than 500 applied for the grant money, with Birmingham advancing to one of just 22 spots for the final phase of the selection for the program.

Birmingham, AL – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the City of Birmingham has been selected as a finalist for the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program. This program was authorized by President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act and saw an unprecedented 565 applications, requesting more than $6 billion in funding. EDA selected Recompete Finalists from more than 200 applications for Recompete Plan Approval; the 22 finalists represent less than the top 10% of those who applied.

 The Recompete Program will invest in economically distressed communities to create and connect people to good jobs. The program targets areas where prime-age (25-54 years) employment significantly trails the national average, with the goal to close this gap through large, flexible investments.

 “We are thankful to the Biden-Harris administration to be selected as a program finalist,” Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said. “We want every Birmingham resident to have access to quality jobs and this program will help us reduce employment participation barriers and supercharge solutions.”

Reinvest Northwest: Birmingham Career Accelerator Recomplete Plan will request $20 million in funding to support the persistently distressed neighborhoods of North Birmingham, Pratt, Smithfield, and Northside. These neighborhoods have experienced significant challenges due to a legacy of disinvestment, systemic racism, pollution, and land use decisions. “Creating a Birmingham economy that is truly inclusive and resilient requires investment into lowering barriers to quality jobs and that’s what this program helps us do,” said Cornell Wesley, Director of the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.

Recompete funding will connect people in the target neighborhoods to good jobs through the creation of a wraparound service center, workforce development hub, Black-owned business initiative entrepreneurship center, and expansion of a transportation program. The plan draws on commitments from Birmingham-area employers to provide good jobs to over 4,500 residents, as well as contributions from training, education, and other partners.

“This is a collective win for our economic development ecosystem, specifically for workforce development solutions,” said Sara McMillian, Manager of Workforce and Talent Development. “Over 60 employers, economic development agencies, and worker-serving organizations came together with a resident-centric plan that prioritizes economic justice and mobility.”

As a finalist, Birmingham will be applying for $20 million in the Phase II Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) which has a deadline of April 25, 2024. For more information, you can visit –


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