Many WA Regions Now Eligible for New Dept. of Commerce Economic Revitalization Grants

Aberdeen, Port Angeles, Spokane, Yakima, Walla Walla, and Longview among communities that could receive funds to solve problems that hinder economic growth under new $1B federal program; Recompete Pilot Program created by Rep. Kilmer, secured by Sen. Cantwell in CHIPS & Science Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a map detailing which communities in the State of Washington and nationwide will be eligible to compete for $200 million in Recompete Pilot Program funds, a new five-year federal program secured by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06) that aims to revitalize economic activity in distressed communities.

Several regions in Washington state --  including the entire Olympic Peninsula, much of Southwest Washington, and Northeast Washington – are eligible for funding. These regions include Aberdeen, Longview, Port Angeles, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima, among other cities. They also include a number of the state’s Tribes, which may also apply for funding. A map showing eligible regions across Washington and the entire country is available HERE.

“Washington is an innovation state, but we didn’t become a powerhouse overnight. We had to build our universities and grow our collaborative partnerships over decades -- and I know that we can continue that growth by tapping into the talent, expertise, and innovation throughout the state. I look forward to working with Rep. Kilmer and the Department of Commerce to ensure the Recompete Pilot Program is put to use as soon as possible so that more communities can thrive,” Sen. Cantwell said.

“I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and was in high school right around the time the timber industry took it on the chin,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I saw a lot of folks in my community lose their jobs. It had a big impact on me – and I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to figure out how to ensure we’re doing a better job of protecting workers and communities so that no one gets left behind in our economy. The Recompete Pilot Program brings hope to distressed communities, addressing their economic challenges head-on. Through flexible, multi-year grants, the federal government can breathe new life into local economies, create jobs, and unlock opportunities for long-term success.”

The Recompete Pilot Program aims to support economic revitalization in distressed communities across the country.  Areas where prime-age (25-54 years) employment significantly trails the national average will be targeted, with the program aiming to close this employment gap through comprehensive strategy development and implementation investments.

These competitive grants will help economically distressed communities meet local economic development needs, create good jobs, invest in their workers and businesses, connect local residents to opportunities and resources for long-term success, and rebuild stronger with lasting opportunity and economic growth.  Local governments may apply for funding, as well as Tribal governments, public entities and nonprofit organizations acting in cooperation with a local government, economic development districts, or coalitions of these types of entities.

Program funding will be allocated following a two-step competition process. In Phase 1, applicants can submit an economic development plan for approval by the Department of Commerce or request $300,000 to $600,000 grants to develop a new economic development plan. The Phase 1 Notice of Funding Opportunity will be announced in the coming month, with a three-month application window. In Phase 2, applicants with an approved economic development plan can apply for larger implementation grants.

Rep. Kilmer drafted and introduced the RECOMPETE Act, which established a new federal grant program, authorized at $1 billion through the fiscal year 2028 and funded at $200 million in the fiscal year 2023, to invest in communities that have faced long-term economic challenges. The program was later adopted into the CHIPS & Science Act, a sweeping investment in American innovation and manufacturing led by Sen. Cantwell.

A one-pager with further details on the RECOMPETE Act is available HERE.