Recompete pilot program

EDA Recompete Program Spotlight

Discover the potential of the EDA's $200 million Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program to revitalize regions and learn how you can leverage EcoMap in the process

Attention all workforce development wonks: The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has recently announced the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program!

In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the program, application timelines, eligibility criteria, and the crucial role that EcoMap Technologies can play in supporting your Recompete strategy.

Let’s get to it!

What is the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program?

The program is a funding opportunity aimed towards addressing chronic economic difficulties and catalyzing sustainable economic growth and job creation in areas with a significant employment gap among individuals aged 25 to 54. Unlike the standard unemployment metrics, this program focuses on areas with a particularly high “prime-age employment gap (PAEG),” a measure that accounts for people who have stopped seeking employment and have exited the labor force completely. Thus, a regions PAEG is a crucial gauge of it’s labor health and overall economic well-being.

To make this initiative a success, the EDA is allocating up to $200 million in funding, which will be rolled out in two phases.

Application Timeline

In Phase 1, applicants are required to submit a concept paper delineating their proposed project and its alignment with the program’s objectives. Phase 1 applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on October 5, 2023. If approved, applicants will be invited to proceed to Phase 2. The Notice of Funding Opportunity for Phase 2 is anticipated to be released by winter 2023.

Eligibility Criteria

Organizations must be based within eligible geographic areas to participate in the Recompete Pilot Program. Eligibility is based off of a region’s PAEG and median household income. Interested orgs can verify their regions’s eligibility through this interactive map.

The Recompete Program aims to spur economic growth in eligible regions

In addition to being located within an eligible location, interested organizations must fit within one of the categories below:

  • a unit of local government
  • the District of Columbia
  • a territory of the United States
  • a Tribal government
  • political subdivisions of a State or other entity, including a special-purpose entity engaged in economic development activities
  • a public entity or nonprofit organization, acting in cooperation with the officials of a political subdivision of a State or other entity described above
  • an economic development district
  • a coalition of any of the above entities that serve or are contained within an eligible geographic area

What Can I Apply For?

Applicants can choose to apply for a Strategy Development Grant, the approval of a Recompete Plan, or both.

Strategy Development Grants are funded awards and can be used to pay for the following:

  • Coordinating and executing an inclusive, locally-defined planning process to address employment gaps (PAEG strategy).
  • Identifying and fostering regional partnerships for implementing the PAEG strategy.
  • Taking inventory of existing community or regional assets to determine regional needs and capabilities (aka Ecosystem Mapping)
  • Developing or updating goals and strategies for implementing the existing PAEG strategy.
  • Identifying or implementing necessary changes to codes, laws, or policies to support the PAEG strategy.
  • Creating plans for promoting broad-based economic growth in the region.
  • Hiring necessary staff, including the coalition’s RPC (Regional Planning Committee) to lead the effort.
  • Forming a workforce development strategy aligned with regional strengths.
  • Undertaking preparatory activities for strategy implementation, such as workforce development strategies and relevant documentation.
  • Collecting population data for Tribal entities and Pacific Ocean Territories to determine PAEG, including individuals aged 25-54 on and off Tribal land.

Receiving Strategy Development Grants alone will not make an organization eligible for Implementation Grants during Phase 2.

A Recompete Plan, on the other hand, is a multi-year plan for reducing the high prime-age employment gap of an eligible area. A competitive Recompete Plan should demonstrate an understanding of regional conditions and needs, articulate a strategy to address causes of the local high prime-age employment gap, and outline the investments the applicant anticipates asking EDA to fund through Phase 2 that will help close the prime-age employment gap.

Unlike Strategy Development Grants, Recompete Plans will not be funded in this phase, but rather will be approved or denied. Applicants whose plans are approved at the end of Phase 1 will be eligible to apply for implementation funds during Phase 2.

What Should I Apply for?

Below is a helpful chart provided by the EDA to help applicants decide what they should apply for.

The purpose of applying just for a Strategy Development Grant is to assist a region in enhancing its competitiveness to eventually secure approval for a Recompete Plan and associated Implementation Grants.

In order to put together a competitive Recompete Plan, an organization must demonstrate the following six elements:

  • Understanding of regional conditions and needs
  • Strength of strategy and quality of potential investments
  • Equity, inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity
  • Regional assets (Database of existing community or regional assets that are specific to their geography and critical to reducing the PAEG)
  • Targeted geographic approach
  • Partnerships and potential commitments

The EDA emphasizes that whether a region chooses to apply for a Strategy Development Grant won’t affect EDA’s decisions related to Recompete Plan approval in this phase or awarding Implementation Grants in the next phase—each will be evaluated separately.

Engaging Underserved and Underrepresented Communities

The program particularly encourages efforts to engage historically underserved populations and areas, encompassing rural, urban, or suburban communities of color, women, and groups facing labor force obstacles such as individuals without four-year college degrees.

Leveraging EcoMap Technologies

EcoMap is uniquely situated to help organizations increase the competitiveness of their Recompete plans and/or applications for strategy development grants.

Through best-in-class technology, EcoMap is capable of mapping out all of the community and regional assets that exist within an organizations region, helping them to better understand what support resources they already have to offer and what gaps currently exist within their ecosystem.

Furthermore, EcoMap is able to connect individuals who have left the labor force to resources and jobs that are uniquely suited to their backgrounds.

The Workforce Hub of the BMore Tech Connect

Our AI-enabled matching process will recommend and connect individuals to existing training and workforce development programs within these regions, reducing information silos and the sort of duplicative efforts that typically plague these initiatives. Through our program management functionality, admin can track users step-by-step through their journeys back into the workforce.

EcoMap keeps all of this data perpetually up to date, ensuring that these platforms are real-time reflections of the support resources and jobs available within each participating region.

EcoMap’s comprehensive ability to address both workforce development and economic development makes us a great choice for organizations aiming to bolster the attractiveness of their Recompete proposals.

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