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Alaska projects finalists in Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Two Alaska projects received $500,000 as finalists in the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

The Southeast Conference in Alaska is proposing eight projects to improve the mariculture industry on Alaska’s coasts, including an integrated hatching network, workforce development programs and private investment incentives, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The second project is led by Spruce Root, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution. The goal is to create a sustainable forest products cluster that would create economic opportunities for tribal and rural communities, according to the news release.

Sixty projects were named finalists out of 529 applicants that submitted projects in October, according to the department. Each of the projects targets a sector that is specific to the applicant’s geographic region, according to the news release.

The finalists can use the $500,000 to strengthen their projects and compete for an additional award of up to $100 million that would go to 20 to 30 regional coalitions that are targeting their particular sectors. The deadline for applications is March 15.

Funding for the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge is from the American Rescue Plan Act. The projects approved cover 45 states and Puerto Rico, according to the news release. The Biden administration is allocating $100 million of the funds to support coal communities affected by the pandemic. Twelve of the final projects are in those communities, according to the news release.

“We are thrilled to help communities work together in coalitions of government, nonprofits, academia, the private sector, and others to craft ambitious and regionally unique plans to rebuild their communities,” said Alejandra Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. “These projects will help revitalize local economies and tackle our biggest challenges related to climate change, manufacturing, supply chains and more.”

This article was originally posted on Alaska projects finalists in Build Back Better Regional Challenge

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