Washington, DC – Today, President Biden will announce the Georgia AI Manufacturing (GA-AIM) coalition as one of 21 winners of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, the most impactful regional economic development competition in decades. Funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Regional Challenge is awarding approximately $65 million in grants to GA-AIM, led by the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, to accelerate integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in industry.
With this funding, GA-AIM will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence across the state’s growing industries, including semiconductors, batteries and electrification, food production, and aerospace and defense. Coalition projects include establishing an AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility at Georgia Tech and expand job training opportunities in AI for underserved communities. The GA-AIM coalition aims to serve as a national model for how to accelerate the transition to automation in manufacturing while ensuring these systems complement rather than replace existing workers.
"This investment will support the careers of hardworking Georgians, create future job opportunities, and lower costs for consumers. It is a well-deserved acknowledgment of the groundbreaking innovation happening right here in Georgia," said Congresswoman Lucy McBath (GA-06). “I am so proud that the Georgia Tech Research Corporation and the Georgia AI Manufacturing Coalition are being supported by this funding. I look forward to seeing all the ways in which this funding will aid our economic recovery and continue to make Georgia the best place to live and work.”
“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we are able to provide transformational investments that will build resilient regional economies, catalyze critical industries, and create good jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Artificial intelligence is becoming a ubiquitous feature of successful industry and manufacturing practices, and the GA-AIM coalition’s efforts will help sustain and grow domestic manufacturing potential without leaving its workers behind.”
“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to help Americans meet the challenges of the future,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment supports Georgia as it builds a more resilient economy that is better equipped to overcome future economic disruptions.”
“Georgia students shouldn’t have to go to New York or the Silicon Valley if they want to work at an exciting tech and research center,” said Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock. “That’s why I am glad Commerce Secretary Raimondo joined me in visiting Georgia Tech last year to view the strong work being done in this area. I’m thrilled to see federal dollars continuing to come to Georgia Tech, one of the top research institutions in the country, to carry on their work of creating an innovation economy in Atlanta and the surrounding region. I was proud to secure robust investments in the Chips and Science Act to build regional tech hubs across the country, and I hope to see many across the state of Georgia.”
“In Atlanta we’re used to doing big things, so I am not surprised Georgia Tech is a recipient of the largest Build Back Better Challenge prize in the country,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05). “Georgia Tech is a partner in creating economic opportunity for traditionally marginalized communities with cutting-edge technologies. I look forward to working more with Georgia Tech and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo as we help everyone to share in the promise of America–no matter your ZIP Code, no matter your bank account.”
The GA-AIM coalition is one of 21 winners – each a regional coalition of partnering entities – that will receive awards between $25 million and $65 million to implement an average of six integrative projects that will enable each region’s economic transformation and competitiveness.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) is an unprecedented competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation – to drive inclusive economic growth. Each coalition’s collection of projects aims to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters – all while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally. Projects span 24 states and include $87 million to two primarily Tribal coalitions and over $150 million for projects serving communities impacted by the declining use of coal.
The 21 BBBRC awardees were chosen from 60 EDA-designated finalists that each received approximately $500,000 in funding and technical assistance to continue developing their cluster strategies. The funding for each coalition is approximate, with awards to be signed later in September. Those 60 finalists were chosen from a Phase 1 applicant pool of 529 applications, which exemplifies the tremendous demand for transformational economic development approaches. EDA will continue to support all 60 finalists with the creation of a Community of Practice that will provide technical support, foster connectedness with peer regions and build capacity.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is one of EDA’s many programs aimed at building strong regional economies and supporting community-led economic development. EDA was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding under the American Rescue Plan to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. As a part of this funding, EDA allocated $300 million through a Coal Communities Commitment to support coal communities in pandemic recovery and help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities. Grantees for EDA’s full suite of American Rescue Plan programs will be awarded on a rolling basis through September 30, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.eda.gov/ARPA/.
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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.