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Obama Administration Announces Winners of Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge to Spur Economic Growth

Greensboro, NC; Hartford, CT; Las Vegas, NV to Receive $1 Million Each


WASHINGTON - Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced that Greensboro, North Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; and Las Vegas, Nevada are the winners of the Obama Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge. The goal of the competition is to generate innovative ideas, strategies, and perspectives that cities can use to develop long-term economic and job growth plans.

The Strong Cities, Strong Communities Challenge is being led by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The Challenge will consist of two phases in each winning city. In the first phase, multiple teams comprised of experts in fields like transportation planning, economic and community development, business incubation, and engineering will submit economic development proposals for their city and/or region. Each city will evaluate the submitted proposals using a city-appointed panel of experts and award funds to the teams submitting the top-rated proposals.

In the second phase, the top-rated teams from the first phase will each develop and submit comprehensive, strategic economic development plans for their city. The city-appointed panel of experts will then select a winning plan. The cities will receive technical assistance from EDA throughout the competition, including a detailed toolkit, training, and web-based support to facilitate the challenge competition process and the creation of economic development plans.

"The hard work of strengthening American communities and our economy happens at the local level, and the Strong Cities, Strong Communities competition demonstrates the Obama Administration's commitment to improving cities and regions all across America," said Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank. "By challenging and encouraging experts in the field to come up with economic development plans for their individual cities, this grant program will support growth and create jobs in communities around the country."

The three winning cities submitted applications and were evaluated by EDA regional office staff through a competitive process that assessed both technical eligibility and merit.

In Greensboro, the city is seeking additional strategic resources to develop a comprehensive plan that incorporates several economic development projects already in motion in the city and that leverages five major industry clusters in and around the region. The expectation is that the strategic planning will creatively influence the next 50 years of urban and economic growth in Greensboro.

To help the city of Hartford to realize the region's economic goals, the priority is to attract serial entrepreneurs, grow advanced manufacturing companies, and increase global competitiveness.

For Las Vegas, the focus is to provide workforce skills training based upon local business needs, education programs at downtown sites that will correlate with workforce certifications, and workforce skills remediation to secure certifications essential for business operations.

Another challenge is being planned to assist three additional economically challenged municipalities in creating long term economic development plans. The SC2 Challenge is a component of the Obama Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, which is creating new partnerships between federal agencies and localities to spark economic development in communities that have faced significant long-term challenges in developing and implementing their economic strategies. In March, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities to build on the early successes of the pilot.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.