Tech Hubs and Recompete Pilot Programs

In December 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 into law, appropriating $1.6 billion to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 programming. The appropriation includes $500 million for launching the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hubs) program and $200 million for launching the Recompete Pilot (Recompete) program authorized under the CHIPS and Science Act.[1]

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the purpose of the Tech Hubs program?

A: The Tech Hubs program is an economic development initiative to drive technology- and innovation-centric growth that leverages existing R&D strengths and technology demonstration and deployment capacities (public and private) within a region to catalyze the creation of good jobs for American workers at all skill levels equitably and inclusively.

Q: What is the purpose of the Recompete Pilot Program?

A: The Recompete program will invest in distressed communities across the country to create, and connect workers to, good jobs—and make a discernible, long-run impact in these communities. The Recompete program specifically targets areas with low labor participation, particularly by those considered in the prime ages for sustained employment (ages 25-54) - otherwise known as an area with a high prime-age employment gap - and strives to make targeted interventions to spur economic activity in such areas.

Q: Why was EDA appropriated funding for these programs?

A: EDA is the only federal government agency focused exclusively on economic development. Building on two years of progress toward restoring and strengthening the U.S. economy, EDA will continue to make significant, strategic, place-based investments in America’s regions, industries and workers to boost innovation, entrepreneurship, regional coordination and access to good-paying jobs.

Q: How much funding is allocated for each program?

A: Congress appropriated to EDA $500 million for the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (“Tech Hubs”) Program and $200 million for the Recompete Pilot Program.

Q: Which organizations can apply for this funding?

A: The two programs have different eligibility rules.

Only consortia (i.e. coalitions, groups) are eligible for the Tech Hubs program. By statute, eligible consortia must include at least one of each:

  • institutions of higher education, which may include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, and minority-serving institutions;
  • State, territorial, local, or Tribal governments or other political subdivisions of a State, including State and local agencies, or a consortium thereof;
  • industry or firms in relevant technology, innovation, or manufacturing sectors;
  • economic development organizations or similar entities that are focused primarily on improving science, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, or access to capital; and
  • labor organizations or workforce training organizations, which may include State and local workforce development boards as established under sections 3111 and 3122 of title 29,

and may include one or more:

  • economic development entities with relevant expertise, including a district organization (as defined in section 300.3 of title 13, Code of Federal Regulations, or successor regulation);
  • organizations that contribute to increasing the participation of underserved populations in science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship;
  • venture development organizations;
  • organizations that promote local economic stability, high-wage domestic jobs, and broad-based economic opportunities, such as employee ownership membership associations and State or local employee ownerships and cooperative development centers, financial institutions and investment funds, including community development financial institutions and minority depository institutions;
  • elementary schools and secondary schools, including area career and technical education schools (as defined in section 3 of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (29 2 U.S.C. 2302);
  • National laboratories (as defined in section 15801 of title 42);
  • Federal laboratories;
  • Manufacturing extension centers (i.e., Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers);
  • Manufacturing USA institutes;
  • transportation planning organizations;
  • a cooperative extension services;
  • organizations that represent the perspectives of underserved communities in economic development initiatives; and
  • institutions receiving an award under section 19108 of title 42.

The Recompete program is designed to alleviate persistent economic distress and support long-term comprehensive economic development and job creation in eligible areas through basic infrastructure and planning, while the Tech Hubs program relies on many of those assets already existing. By statute, eligible entities for the Recompete program include:

  • a unit of local government;
  • the District of Columbia;
  • a territory of the United States;
  • a Tribal government;
  • political subdivision 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 in the previous bullet;
  • an economic development district (as defined in section 3 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3122); and
  • a consortium of any of the specified entities described above which serve or are contained within the same eligible area.

Eligible areas under the Recompete program include:

  • A local labor market that:
    • has a prime-age employment gap (workers age 25-54) equal to not less than 2.5 percent; and
    • meets additional criteria as the Secretary of Commerce may establish.
  • A local community that:
    • has a prime-age employment gap equal to not less than 5 percent;
    • is not located within an eligible local labor market that meets the criteria described in the local labor market definition;
    • has a median annual household income of not more than $75,000; and
    • meets additional criteria as the Secretary may establish.
Q: What is the timeline for announcing the associated Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs)?

A: In early 2023, EDA will release a Request for Information (RFI) for each program to help gain insights from the public, including experts, practitioners, and researchers, to inform how the programs are shaped and evaluated. EDA strongly encourages any and all interested individuals and organizations to respond to the RFI to capture the most comprehensive set of perspectives possible. NOFOs for each program will be released in the first half of 2023. Sign up for EDA’s communications which will include updates on RFIs, NOFOs and awardee announcements.

Q: What is the relationship between CHIPS and Tech Hubs?   

A: The Tech Hubs and CHIPS programs are complementary but separate. The CHIPS programs focus on semiconductors. They seek to restore U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing by providing incentives and encouraging investment to expand the domestic capacity necessary to produce the most advanced semiconductors needed for applications in AI and high-performance computing and legacy semiconductors that remain critical components of everything from automobiles to microwave ovens. The CHIPS programs will also create a dynamic new center for innovation and research, laying the groundwork for the creation of the next generation industries. 

Separately and complementarily, the Tech Hubs program aims to drive high-potential innovation and economic growth in regions across the United States to establish and strengthen our leadership in a broad array of industries of the future.

[1] 15 U.S.C. §§ 3722a, 3722b, Pub. L. 117-167, div. B, tit. VI, subt. C., sec. 10621, 136 Stat. 1642.