Biden administration ties $3B in community grants to 'equity' push

The Biden administration announced $3 billion in community grants as part of the American Rescue Plan, saying anyone who applies for a grant must demonstrate that “equity” is part of the proposal.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Thursday said equity is “good for workers, good for business and good for the economy,” and that she believes the investment is the largest ever economic development initiative from the agency.

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Raimondo told reporters Thursday that millions of Americans continue to struggle amid the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the effects have been “uneven.” 

“Those who continue to struggle disproportionately women, people of color, communities of color, rural communities, and tribes,” Raimondo said. “So ensuring that these $3 billion are distributed equitably is core to our investment strategy.” 

Raimondo said state and local governments, universities, Indian tribes and nonprofits can begin applying for the funding as soon as Thursday afternoon. She said the grants could create up to 300,000 jobs “in the near term.”

The program will allocate $500 million towards industry and workforce training and apprenticeship programs, with a particular focus on women, people of color and underserved communities.

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