Recompete Pilot Program – Phase 2 FAQs
The below Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are designed to help Recompete Pilot Program (Recompete) Phase 1 applicants better understand the Phase 1 process and to help Phase 2 applicants (Recompete Plan Finalists) better understand the Phase 2 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). If you have any questions that are not addressed in the FAQs below, please feel free to contact us at Recompete@eda.gov. Please also be sure to carefully read the Recompete Phase 2 NOFO, which can be found here (PDF).
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) will update these FAQs regularly, so please check them for new information. EDA also encourages you to subscribe to our newsletters and check the Recompete website regularly for updates on the program.
Table of Contents
- Phase 1 Process
- Phase 2
Will EDA publish a list of all Phase 1 applicants and/or post all Phase 1 applications?
EDA has posted a list of all 565 Phase 1 applicants, which can be found here (PDF). EDA has published the eight-page narratives of the Recompete Plan Finalists, which can be found under their respective project summaries, found here (PDF).
Can EDA provide feedback on our Phase 1 application? (Question updated on 2/20/2024)
EDA will provide individualized feedback to Recompete Plan Finalists during the Phase 2 application window. We will provide individualized feedback to Strategy Development Grant (SDG) awardees in the first half of 2024. EDA offered an informative webinar on Monday, January 8th that focused on overall trends and themes observed in those applications that were more successful in the competition. The webinar recording is available here on the Recompete website under Phase 1 Resources.
My organization applied for a Strategy Development Grant or Recompete Plan Approval and was not selected. Can EDA provide feedback on our Phase 1 application? (Question updated on 1/26/2024)
EDA is unable to provide feedback on specific applications that were not selected in Phase 1. However, EDA offered an informative webinar on Monday, January 8th that focused on overall trends and themes observed in applications that were more successful in the competition. The webinar recording is available here on the Recompete website under Phase 1 Resources.
My organization applied for both a Strategy Development Grant and Recompete Plan Approval but we were only selected for one or the other. What does this mean for our organization?
EDA awarded Strategy Development Grants based on the criteria listed in the Phase 1 NOFO (PDF) section E.1.a (page 25) and selected Recompete Plan Finalists based on the criteria listed in the Phase 1 NOFO (PDF) section A.1.e (pages 11 – 13) and section E.1.b (page 25). Applications from the same organization were evaluated separately.
For those organizations that were awarded Strategy Development Grants but were not selected as Recompete Plan Finalists, EDA expects that the grant-funded activities will prepare your organization and relevant partners to achieve Recompete program goals and to compete for future EDA and non-EDA funding opportunities.
For those organizations that were selected as Recompete Plan Finalists but were not awarded Strategy Development Grants, EDA considers you well-positioned to submit high-quality Phase 2 applications for implementation grants.
Will there be future opportunities to apply for Recompete Plan Approval?
Subject to future appropriations, EDA may conduct additional Recompete Plan Approval and Strategy Development Grant competitions. This program was authorized for up to $1 billion, and EDA has only been appropriated $200 million to-date.
When is the Phase 2 application deadline, and when will Phase 2 awards be announced?
The deadline for Phase 2 applications is 4:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, April 25, 2024. EDA expects to announce the Phase 2 winners by the end of the summer 2024.
Can the Lead Applicant change between Phase 1 and Phase 2?
No, except in rare circumstances. Please see Phase 2 NOFO section A.1.b(3) (pages 6 - 7) for more information.
Can I add or remove members to my coalition between Phase 1 and Phase 2? If I applied originally as a single applicant, can I change to a coalition?
Yes. EDA understands that members of the coalition may shift between Phase 1 and Phase 2. Please note that if any partner entities (i.e., organizations other than the Lead Applicant) will serve as Component Project Leads, the Lead Applicant must apply as a coalition and register all relevant entities as members of the coalition in EDGE.
Can our application’s service area change between Phase 1 and Phase 2?
EDA expects the geographic scope of Phase 2 proposals to largely match that of Phase 1. However, EDA anticipates that there may be certain circumstances where an applicant’s service area may have changed (e.g., reducing the geographic Service Area to increase the concentration of investments, expanding to bring in another distressed part of the community). Please note that the Service Area must remain within the boundaries of the original Eligible Area(s).
If applicants change their Service Area, they must provide documentation in their application materials (1) identifying their original and revised Service Areas (e.g., the populations and specific areas that stand to benefit from the Recompete Pilot Program), (2) confirming that the new Service Area is still within an Eligible Area, and (3) providing rationale on why the change was made.
What key terms should applicants keep in mind as they evaluate eligible areas? (Updated as of 1/26/2024)
(1) Eligible Area: The Local Labor Market or Local Community being served by an applicant.
(2) Service Area: The particular area(s) that an applicant chooses to focus their proposed interventions on. These area(s) will directly benefit from the Recompete Pilot Program, if the applicant is awarded. Note that an applicant’s service area must be located within an eligible area. The service area may cover all or a subset of the relevant eligible area.
(3) Project / Activity Location: The locations of non-construction and/or construction activities proposed as part of a Recompete Plan. The project / activity locations will likely be within the eligible area or service area, but this is not required so long as the benefits of the project / activity are accrued to the applicant’s chosen service area.
(4) Applicant Location: Where the applicant’s HQ, offices, or staff are physically located. The applicant location may be within the eligible area but does not need to be in order to qualify for funding. Any entity that lacks a physical presence within the boundaries of the eligible area should be able to represent and act on behalf of the eligible area.
Can the total requested funding we submitted in Phase 1 change between Phase 1 and Phase 2? What about requested funding for component projects?
Yes, Phase 2 applicants are permitted to request funding amounts, for both the total and component projects, that differ from their Phase 1 high-level budget narrative.
Can we propose a set of investments that goes below or above the average award amounts indicated in the Notice of Funding Opportunity ($20 million for Local Communities and $50 million for Local Labor Markets)?
Yes. Please propose investments that are reflective of the cost to implement solutions that would reduce your region’s Prime Age Employment Gap (PAEG). Please note that EDA expects to make 4-8 Implementation awards with grants to Local Labor Markets averaging approximately $50,000,000 and grants to Local Communities averaging approximately $20,000,000, though amounts for each awardee will depend on multiple factors.
Can the component project activities change from Phase 1 to Phase 2? Can an applicant remove or add a component project?
Yes. EDA expects that applicants will further develop their strategy between Phase 1 and Phase 2, and EDA will be providing feedback to make applications more competitive. Thus, Phase 2 applicants are permitted to change the planned activities and, in rare circumstances, to add/remove component projects.
Per Page 13 in the Recompete Phase 2 NOFO (PDF), the updated RC Plans should include: "An overview of the work conducted and/or proposed by the applicant between Phase 1 selections and the Phase 2 application submission, including any new information or risks mitigated. Include a detailed list of any changes to the vision – including to the proposed Service Area, projects, or key partners – of the Recompete effort since Phase 1 selections were made. If the applicant’s Service Area or key projects have changed, please explain why."
What timeline should be used for component projects?
EDA strongly recommends that applicants propose Phase 2 projects whose period of performance does not exceed five years. If you wish to propose projects that exceed five years, please explain why this is necessary to effectively achieve the purpose of the program and intended economic development results.
Should the Recompete Plan Coordinator (RPC) be hired by the time we submit our Phase 2 application? Should they be focused full-time on the Recompete effort?
EDA expects the Lead Applicant to, at minimum, conduct preliminary planning on the type of profile they are seeking in an RPC and the process by which one would be hired if they are awarded implementation funding. Applicants that have not identified and/or hired an RPC by the Phase 2 deadline should provide a clear plan to do so in their application.
All Recompete Plan Coordinators should focus all or at least the vast majority of their time on the Recompete effort. Lead Applicants should ensure proposed budgets account for any funding needed to support this position.
We have successfully identified and/or hired a Recompete Plan Coordinator (RPC). Should we include their resume in the application?
Yes, please upload their resume along with other “Bios of Key Leadership” in EDGE. Please see Phase 2 NOFO section A.1.b.vi (page 9) for more information.
Can a single entity be the Component Project Lead for multiple or all component projects for the Phase 2 application?
Yes; however, any entity serving as lead on multiple component projects should demonstrate its capacity to manage each of those component projects individually as well as the multiple component projects jointly. Please note that if any partner entities (i.e., organizations other than the Lead Applicant) will serve as Component Project Leads, the Lead Applicant must apply as a coalition and register all relevant entities as members of the coalition in EDGE.
What activities can EDA fund through Phase 2? Are there any activities that cannot be funded?
Implementation grants can support a wide range of non-construction and construction activities that aim to increase regional capacity across the following four broad categories: workforce development; business and entrepreneur development; infrastructure; and additional planning, predevelopment, or technical assistance. Please see Phase 1 NOFO (PDF) section A.1.f.i (pages 13-14) for more information on eligible interventions.
Some projects are generally ineligible for EDA funding under the Phase 2 NOFO, including projects that do not have a clear and direct nexus with any of the four broad categories of eligible activities: workforce development; business and entrepreneur development; infrastructure; and additional planning, predevelopment, or technical assistance. Applicants who are unsure whether their proposed project is eligible under the Phase 2 NOFO should consult Recompete@eda.gov
There are some activities that cannot be funded through this program:
- Recompete funds cannot be used towards the construction of housing. In rare circumstances, funds may potentially be used for non-construction housing projects if the applicant can effectively demonstrate that such support is necessary to the success of the proposed economic development activities. For example, the applicant may demonstrate that workforce training participants would be unable to participate in training activities without EDA-funded housing supports (e.g., housing counseling, short-term housing during workforce training period).
- Recompete funds cannot be used to pay wage subsidies to employers for Recompete training participants’ employment and/or on-the-job training. Funds may potentially be used by an EDA grantee to provide wage stipends directly to the training participant, and EDA will provide Technical Assistance to support Finalists in designing this.
- Recompete funds cannot be used towards Revolving Loan Funds (RLF).
- Recompete funds may not be used, directly or indirectly as an offset for other funds, to support or oppose collective bargaining.
- Recompete funds cannot be used to make direct payments to private, for-profit entities.
How should applicants think about match in this competition?
In general, Phase 2 Implementation grants, as described in Phase 2 NOFO section A.1.c., may be awarded with a maximum 100 percent federal grant rate (i.e., no local match required). However, matching dollars, leveraged dollars or commitments, and policy commitments are a competitive factor, as described in the “Sustainable Partnerships and Commitments” factor in Phase 2 NOFO section E.1.a.3. Please note, EDA expects Phase 2 applicants to use their own judgement to determine and articulate whether a particular type of match accomplishes new work, or not. EDA will provide technical assistance on this topic in the period prior to the Phase 2 application deadline.
Where should applicants articulate leverage in their proposals? (Question updated 1/26/2024)
Applicants should clearly articulate overall leverage match in their Recompete Plan narrative as well as in relevant component project narratives and letters of commitment.
Will all submitted component projects be funded if a region receives a Phase 2 award? Or will EDA fund only a selection of component projects submitted?
EDA at its discretion may fund all or only some of the originally proposed component projects and may negotiate with applicants on the scope and nature of certain component project applications of the overall mix of applications depending on the viability and feasibility of those components and the availability of funds.
Is each component project graded against all the evaluation criteria? Or is the entire application graded against all the evaluation criteria?
Component projects will be evaluated against evaluation criteria 1, 2, 6, and 7. Updated Recompete Plans will be evaluated against evaluation criteria 1-5. Please see Phase 2 NOFO section E.1.a (pages 28-31) for more information.
- What metrics is EDA looking for in a Phase 2 application? (Question added on 1/26/2024)
EDA expects applicants to define meaningful, realistic metrics that fit their community and proposed projects. EDA’s belief is that applicants know best what success will look like for their community and that they can use the metrics they define to see if their program's efforts are heading in the right direction and making a discernable impact on prime age employment and wages.
EDA expects applicants to establish outputs/outcomes, goals, and metrics that display success for their communities. As stated on page 6 of the Phase 2 NOFO, while “budgets are a competitiveness factor… EDA encourages applicants to consider the highest return on federal investments. EDA also recognizes providing meaningful economic opportunity requires more resources in some communities than others…”.
- Can EDA funds be used to prepare our Phase 2 grant application materials? (Question added on 1/26/2024)
Grant application costs, such as grant writing, are not eligible costs and are not eligible as a pre-award costs. See thepage 27 of the Recompete Phase 2 NOFO: "Under no circumstances will EDA or DOC be held responsible for application preparation expenditures, which are distinguished from pre-award project costs.” However, SDG funds can be allocated to Phase 2 strategy activities, such as stakeholder convenings, planning sessions, and PERs. For Finalists that received an SDG in Phase 1, please consult with your assigned Grants Management Specialist for more clarification as needed.
- Can a Strategy Development Grant or Implementation awardee request advance disbursement as opposed to reimbursed disbursement? (Question added 1/26/2024)
Yes. Advance payments will be an option for non-construction projects if an applicant’s organization can't cover costs up front until reimbursements are made available. Advance payments would be limited to 30 days of costs, no more, so applicants would have to request advances each month. Advance payments are only allowed for non-construction projects at EDA. Construction investments may only receive grant funds via reimbursements.
Can we use Recompete dollars to establish governance of the component projects or for management operations? Is there a limit on funding for such activities? (Question added 2/20/2024)
Yes, this is allowed. Finalists are encouraged to account for governance needs as they develop their application narratives, budgets, and partnerships. As stated in the NOFO: "EDA encourages applicants to budget for funding – whether from EDA or otherwise – that will be devoted to governance and management operations (e.g., subaward management, hiring positions –including the Recompete Plan Coordinator), and metrics and evaluation. Please note that there is flexibility in how this could be achieved (e.g., stand-alone component projects, integrated features of component projects, supported via any matched funding)."
There is no limit on how much one can request for such activities. However, as stated in the NOFO, "budgets are a competitive factor, and EDA encourages applicants to consider the highest return on federal investments."
If a partner provides a letter of commitment, does that prevent them from bidding on future procurement opportunities? (Question added 2/20/2024)
A letter of commitment does not prevent an entity from bidding on future procurement opportunities, unless they are providing match funding (through cash or in-kind contributions) in substitution of support that would otherwise be provided through federal funding. As stated on page 8 in the Recompete Phase 2 NOFO (PDF), “A provider of matching share, including an entity providing cash or in-kind contributions, may not serve as a contractor under the same award, and may not be paid with award funds to provide goods or services to the award recipient.” Finalists should reach out to their assigned Program Officer with any questions.
- Can property be leased rather than owned for construction purposes? (Question added on 1/26/2024)
Generally, EDA prefers that construction activities are located on property owned by the applicant. However, in rare circumstances, it is possible for an applicant to apply for a construction grant with the intent to construct on property on which it has a long-term leasehold interest. The lease term must cover at least the useful life of the project, which may range from 15 to 20 years. EDA must review the lease to determine whether its terms and conditions adequately safeguard the Federal government’s interest in the property. In instances where the applicant is leasing the property, EDA suggests that the property owner join the component project as a co-applicant, if eligible.
- What information is required for a Preliminary Engineering report? (Question added on 1/26/2024)
See Form ED900C and Preliminary-Engineering-Report-Requirements-and-Guidance document (DOCX).
When should applicants for construction projects begin to submit federal concurrence letters for the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)? Or, will EDA seek concurrence on behalf of the applicant? (Question added on 2/20/2024)
If a Finalist has already started the process of notifying their State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) or Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs) about their construction project, feel free to proceed. If not, EDA will send notifications on behalf of applicants to SHPOs/ THPOs after the Phase 2 application deadline.
Can my organization and/or coalition members use consultants for preliminary engineering or environmental reports as part of Phase 2 implementation activities?
Yes. All use of consultants is subject to the following requirements:
The Procurement Standards of the Uniform Guidance at 2 C.F.R. 200.317 – 200.327 govern all procurements under Recompete. The “Competition” regulation at 2 C.F.R. 200.319 sets out the general rule for federal financial assistance that contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, or invitations for bids or requests for proposals must be excluded from competing for such procurements. In the context of Recompete, this means that a professional engineer or architect that undertakes preliminary design activities for the project, including a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) for an EDA application, must be excluded from bidding on the same work under an EDA award.
In accordance with 2 C.F.R 200.317, only state recipients are expressly exempt from this procurement restriction. Local governments and Indian Tribes may also take advantage of the procurement exemption in certain narrow circumstances.
Practically speaking this means that if a recipient has a selection process that will involve two separate competitions—one solicitation and contract for undertaking preliminary design for a project and then a separate solicitation and contract to select a contractor for final design activities—the successful contractor that undertakes preliminary design (including developing the PER) would be excluded from competing for final design under a Phase 2 award.
There are options to help avoid unintentionally excluding contractors by helping to make sure all competing contractors are on equal footing from the beginning:
In designing the solicitation for design and engineering services, make sure to include a broad array of such services that will be required under Recompete, including preliminary and final design. The organization may also wish to specify that if the preliminary design is successful and the organization is selected for an award, final design work is anticipated. The solicitation should also cover the expected funding level and performance period that will be required under Recompete.
If an organization already has a contractor on an existing general or broad services contract that would cover all anticipated tasks required to develop an application and to implement an award under Phase 2 of Recompete and that was competed consistent with the Procurement Standards of the Uniform Guidance (2 C.F.R. 200.317 – 200.327), the contractor exclusion requirement may not be an issue. Please note that in this situation the contract must be competed regularly—in general, the performance period should extend no longer than five years. In addition, the services must be within the scope of the existing contract, as interpreted by EDA.
Please reach out to Recompete@eda.gov further questions.
See EDA’s Procurement Guide for more information: https://www.eda.gov/sites/default/files/2023-11/Procurement-guidance-for-EDA-awards.pdf (PDF).
Can an applicant go out to bid for proposed implementation projects before being selected for an Implementation grant?
In general, an applicant can start necessary solicitation processes before a Phase 2 implementation award, but the applicant must understand it is proceeding at its own risk and there is no guarantee of a federal award. The applicant should take this risk into account in the contracting process as appropriate (e.g., by making the contract contingent upon successfully obtaining a federal award, options, etc.). If an applicant does receive a federal award, please note that a procurement must be compliant with the procurement standards set out at 2 CFR 200.317 – 200.327 to be eligible for reimbursement.
See EDA’s Procurement Guide for more information: https://www.eda.gov/sites/default/files/2023-11/Procurement-guidance-for-EDA-awards.pdf (PDF).
If we were awarded a Phase 1 Strategy Development award, can we use it to solicit consulting services for multiple projects under a single solicitation?
Yes. The applicant may advertise for services needed for multiple projects, so long as the procurement is compliant with the procurement standards of 2 CFR 200.317 - 200.327, including 2 CFR 200.319 (which, among other things, requires that the solicitation incorporate a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements and does not contain features that unduly restrict competition).
Please see FAQ #19 in this section for important information about the competitive procurement restrictions for contractors that develop a PER for a project and then compete for design, and for important considerations to avoid unintentionally excluding contractors. Also, FAQ #20 in this section for important considerations about advertising before receiving a federal award.
See EDA’s Procurement Guide for more information: https://www.eda.gov/sites/default/files/2023-11/Procurement-guidance-for-EDA-awards.pdf (PDF).
Can Recompete Plan Finalists use Phase 1 Strategy Development Grant (SDG) awards for Phase 2 application preparation costs?
Yes. If you received an SDG award in Phase 1, you may use it to cover Phase 2 application preparation costs. Please read FAQs 21-23 in this section as you consider such activities. Phase 2 Implementation awards may not be used to backfill Phase 2 application preparation costs under any circumstance.
What is the EDA Economic Development Grant Experience (EDGE) portal?
EDGE is the web platform via which you and EDA will manage the full lifecycle of your grant, from application to closeout. EDGE performs best on Firefox or Google Chrome browsers, with pop-ups allowed in order to view forms, reminders, and other important information. Click here to see the EDGE Quick Reference Guide.
Where do I apply for Phase 2 implementation grants? (Question updated on 2/20/2024)
Phase 2 applications are only open to Recompete Phase Finalists. The Lead Applicant will receive an email from EDGE with a link to the Phase 2 NOFO. Lead Applicants should not share this link with coalition members as they will not be able to access it. To invite a coalition member to be a Component Project Lead, the Lead Applicant should email the Component Project Lead’s organizational information (organization name, organization’s primary Point of Contact (POC), UEI, and CAGE code from SAM.gov) as soon as possible to email@example.com. Component Project Leads will then receive their own link to apply for a component project from EDGE. This private link will be linked to your Updated Recompete Plan application. All Component Project Leads will need to be registered in EDGE (with an active UEI) prior to submission of application by the deadline.
Component Project Leads will need to fill out an organization profile which will ask for the Project Lead’s Tax ID/EIN and basic information (organization’s address).
Component Project Leads on a Recompete Pilot Program application ARE required to have a UEI number to apply, and an active CAGE code in SAM.gov at the time of award (see NOFO section E.3). Project Leads not already registered in SAM.gov are encouraged to start this process as soon as possible in order to complete the application submission.
How do I apply in EDGE as a coalition?
The Lead Applicant will need to create a “coalition” under the “My Associations” tab on the EDGE home page (see image below). To add a coalition member organization to your coalition, you will need to invite a coalition member to make an account in EDGE to verify their organization’s participation as part of the coalition. The invited member will need to provide basic organization information including a Tax ID/EIN.
How do I update or change the Authorized Representative for my application?
An Authorized Representative is considered to be a person with signatory authority for that organization. The Authorized Representative is the only person who can submit component applications or the overarching application. You can update the team roles per application by using the “Application Team” tab. By moving an Authorized Representative’s status from “current” to “former” you can add in a new Authorized Representative.
If applicants are a coalition, do all partners need to be registered in EDGE? How does EDA define “Coalition members”?
For the Phase 2 application, only the Lead Applicant and the Component Project Leads need to register in EDGE.
To create an account, you will need your organization’s UEI number, CAGE code, and basic contact information.
How can I view my Phase 1 application in EDGE?
When you log into your home screen in EDGE, you should be able to click on the title of your funding request application. From there, you can see your entire submitted application. By scrolling over the fourth sub tab titled “application documents,” you should be able to download everything you’ve submitted.
What do I do if my organization shares an EIN/TIN number with an entity that is already registered in EDGE?
The EDGE system does not allow for registering multiple organizations with the same EIN/TIN numbers. If this presents issues for an organization attempting to register in EDGE, please email Recompete@eda.gov and GrantHDSupport@eda.gov for support.
My organization’s information needs updating (such as UEI or CAGE code), how do I go about that?
Reach out to Recompete@eda.gov for assistance.
I am the Lead Applicant – if other entities are submitting the component project applications, how do I see the those submitted?
For the Lead Applicant to have visibility into the Component applications, the Component Project Lead must add the Lead Applicant as a “team member” to the application.
How do I start an application for a component project in EDGE?
The Lead Coalition Member should email Recompete@eda.gov with the Component Project Lead information:
- Organization Name
- POC Name
- POC Email
- Recompete Plan Finalist Name
- CAGE Code from SAM.gov
That recipient will receive an email from EDGE with their own custom application link for a new component project.