The grants were applied for by 529 applicants. This means that approximately 11% of the submissions made it through to the next round. The next round will choose 20-30 regional coalitions to receive up to $100 million in grants to help shape manufacturing, clean energy, and life sciences hubs across the country. Twelve of the 12 finalists came from areas that are closely tied to the coal sector.
These finalists included a majority of coalitions that were made up of academic, government and economic partners. Each winner will be awarded $500,000 to assist with planning for the next round. Applications are due March. September is the deadline to select the winners.
Alejandra Castillo (assistant commerce secretary for economic growth), stated in an interview that "this program will bring communities back to regions across America." The program was created to "enhance the assets of different local partners."
The city-led finalists include Newark, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Tucson, Arizona, Manchester, New Hampshire, Phoenix, and New Orleans. There are also finalists from universities in Alabama, Maine Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas as well as Kansas. Economic partnerships are also available, as well as industry-specific organizations like the Wisconsin Paper Council.
Gene Sperling, a White House senior adviser, stated that interest in coronavirus relief has exceeded 150 applicants.