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Reinvest Birmingham Grant Proposal Could Inject $24.5M in Economic Opportunity and Workforce Development

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The potential impact of the “Reinvest Birmingham” proposal includes 2,500 residents completing training, 158 children receiving high quality early learning programming, expanded micro-transit serving over 25,000 residents, and additional measures. (Adobe Stock)

www.birminghamal.gov

The City of Birmingham has submitted the next phase of an application for a highly-competitive federal investment grant. Led by the Department of Innovation & Economic Opportunity, the $24.5 million proposal — named “Reinvest Birmingham” — could mean new centers for workforce training, childcare, entrepreneurship development, and more: impacting tens of thousands of residents across the North Birmingham, Northside, Smithfield, and Pratt communities.

The City is one of only 22 finalists invited to compete for the Phase 2 Implementation Grant funding by the U.S. Department of Commerce — Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program. This is one of the most competitive grant programs in agency history and it seeks to invest in economically distressed communities by creating and connecting people to good jobs.

“We are thrilled to compete as a Recompete Phase 2 finalist,” said Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “This would not only give us a mechanism to support our home-grown talent but provide an opportunity to fill critical gaps within our workforce by taking a people-centered approach to economic development and growth.”

The “Reinvest Birmingham” proposal is requesting federal funding to support and create good jobs through five strategic component projects:

  • Development of a workforce training center that is centrally located within community
  • Expansion of micro-transit options that ensure residents have affordable means of transportation to access training, employment and essential services
  • Development of a Child Care Center of Excellence that not only provides full-day, early learning programming for children and families, but increases support for childcare workers and providers
  • Creation of a Black Business Entrepreneurship Center that serves as a physical front door for Birmingham Black businesses to launch and scale operations
  • Development of a governance model that ensures long-term sustainability for Reinvest Birmingham programming.

“Our charge is to make Birmingham the model of an inclusive and resilient economy,” said Coreata’ Houser, Deputy Director of the Department of Innovation & Economic Opportunity and the Interim Recompete Plan Coordinator. “Creating an economy where everyone can thrive focuses not only on job creation and talent preparation, but also considers strategies that truly dismantle barriers holding back Birmingham residents from fully participating in our workforce.”

The potential impact of the “Reinvest Birmingham” proposal includes 2,500 residents completing training, 158 children receiving high quality early learning programming, expanded micro-transit serving over 25,000 residents, and additional measures that increase Black business revenue, contract sizes, and job growth within local Black firms.

“This application was a win for Birmingham,” said Sarah McMillan, Manager of Workforce & Talent Development. “The City of Birmingham led this application alongside a committed coalition of partners from Lawson State Community College, EdFarm, AIDT, Central Six AlabamaWorks!, the Birmingham Public Library, the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, Childcare Resources, the Women’s Foundation of Alabama, Prosper, Regions Bank, and the Birmingham Business Alliance.”

The EDA expects to make 4-8 Implementation awards with awards ranging between $20-50 million. Phase 2 winners will be announced late summer. For more information, you can visit https://www.eda.gov/funding/programs/recompete-pilot-program/2023