Through its competitive grant process, EDA evaluates all project applications to determine the extent to which they:
- Align with EDA’s investment priorities,
- Effectively address the creation and/or retention of high-quality jobs, and
- Document that the applicant can or will leverage other resources, both public and private, and demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to commence the proposed project promptly, to use funds quickly and effectively, and provide a clear scope of work that includes a description of specific, measurable project outputs.
EDA’s investment priorities provide an overarching framework to ensure its grant investment portfolio – ranging from planning to infrastructure construction -- contributes to local efforts to build, improve, or better leverage economic assets that allow businesses to succeed and regional economies to prosper and become more resilient. Competitive grant applications will be responsive to the evaluation criteria listed under each individual funding announcement, including at least one of the below investment priorities. For more information on the investment priorities, please read the Investment Priorities Definitions (PDF) which defines a number of the key concepts introduced below:
- Equity: Economic development planning or implementation projects that advance equity across America through investments that directly benefit 1) one or more traditionally underserved populations (PDF), including but not limited to women, Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders or 2) underserved communities within geographies that have been systemically and/or systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic prosperity such as Tribal Lands, Persistent Poverty Counties (XLSX), and rural areas with demonstrated, historical underservice. For more information on these populations and geographies see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-advancing-racial-equity-and-support-for-underserved-communities-through-the-federal-government/.
- Recovery & Resilience: Economic development planning or implementation projects that build economic resilience to and long-term recovery from economic shocks, like those experienced by coal and power plant communities, or other communities impacted by the decline of an important industry or a natural disaster, that may benefit from economic diversification-focused resilience.
- Workforce Development: Economic development planning or implementation projects that support workforce education and skills training activities directly connected to the hiring and skills needs of the business community and that result in well-paying, quality jobs (PDF).
- Manufacturing: Economic development planning or implementation projects that encourage job creation, business expansion, technology and capital upgrades, and productivity growth in manufacturing, including efforts that contribute to the competitiveness and growth of domestic suppliers or to the domestic production of innovative, high-value products and production technologies.
- Technology-Based Economic Development: Economic development planning or implementation projects that foster regional knowledge ecosystems that support entrepreneurs and startups, including the commercialization of new technologies, that are creating technology-driven businesses and high-skilled, well-paying jobs of the future.
- Environmentally-Sustainable Development: Economic development planning or implementation projects that help address the climate crisis including through the development and implementation of green products (PDF), green processes (PDF) (including green infrastructure), green places (PDF), and green buildings (PDF).
- Exports & FDI: Economic development planning or implementation projects that enhance or build community assets to support growth in US exports or increased foreign direct investment.