Budzinski Announces Decatur as Finalist for Major Economic Development Grant

DECATUR, IL — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced that the Decatur, Illinois, Recompete Plan has been selected as one of 22 finalists for funding from the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program out of more than 600 applicants nationwide. The application – submitted by Richland Community College – was the only community college application selected as a finalist. 

“One of my top priorities in Congress has been looking for federal funding opportunities and advocating for projects in Central and Southern Illinois,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “I’m thrilled to join the Economic Development Administration to announce that Decatur has been selected as one of 22 finalists for federal Recompete funding. This announcement underscores the strength of Decatur’s application and positions our community for significant federal investment. I look forward to continuing my work with EDA to secure economic development resources for our community.” 

“Richland has been committed to changing lives and improving the economic vitality of our communities through rigorous and effective workforce training for many years, we are elated to be named finalists and are confident that, if chosen, we will continue to provide a prepared trained workforce through our EnRich Program by moving adults out of unemployment and out of poverty into productive careers that will strengthen our community, bolster the local economy, and most important, change individuals’ lives for the better,” said Dr. Cristobal “Cris” Valdez, President of Richland Community College.

“Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski has demonstrated unwavering dedication to Richland Community College and our community, tirelessly delivering high-quality resources, championing job creation, and advocating for opportunities in our district that stand to benefit not only our local community but also resonate on a national scale,” said Rev. Courtney Carson, AVP, External Affairs at Richland Community College.

“Decatur Public Schools is ecstatic about the possibility of receiving this funding to connect our high school students to viable career opportunities in our community. DPS recognizes the need to be intentional about connecting our high school students to opportunities before High School graduation. This will increase the likelihood for students to become successful, thriving, productive citizens in our community. This has a direct impact on the Prime-age employment gap in our community,” said Ashley Grayned, Executive Director of Innovative Programs & Strategic Planning with Decatur Public Schools.

“We realize success by combining our strengths and forming deliberate, collaborative approaches to address our community’s challenges. An incredible amount of coordination between these four agencies was put forth for the first phase of this application process. With Recompete Plan Approval, now we are eligible to apply for an infusion of $20 to $50 million into our community to not only address but also prevent our persistent Prime Age Employment Gap.” said Nicole Bateman, President of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County.

Authorized for up to $1 billion in the CHIPS and Science Act, the Recompete Program received $200 million in initial appropriations for the 2023 competition. Through this funding, EDA aims to make transformational investments that catalyze renewed competitiveness and economic opportunity for workers and families in areas that for too long have been left behind. 

Earning the title of Recompete Finalist is an endorsement of the community’s strategy to create and connect workers to good jobs in geographically diverse and persistently distressed communities across the country. Recompete Finalists are eligible to apply for the second phase of the Recompete Program, which will award an average of $20 to $50 million in implementation funding to support a wide range of activities across workforce development, business and entrepreneur development, infrastructure, and additional planning, predevelopment, or technical assistance.

The Recompete Finalists are located across 20 states and territories and represent a cross-section of urban and rural regions. Of the 22 Finalists, seven are focused exclusively on rural America and five are led by or involve Tribal organizations as a primary partner. Additionally, seven Finalists’ plans involve labor organizations as part of their proposed investments.

The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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