Who Qualifies for the Exciting New RECOMPETE Revitalization Program? Here’s a Map

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The Economic Development Administration (EDA) released a map this week of communities that will be eligible to apply for the Distressed Area RECOMPETE Pilot Program, which is expected to begin accepting applications in the next month. The map includes even more rural communities than we initially estimated.

RECOMPETE Eligibility Map Provided by EDA.

At the core of our Campaign for Rural Progress is the belief that distressed communities deserve access to federal programs that can help them get back on their feet, especially since rural communities often often find it difficult to pull out of a downward spiral on their own due to closing hospitals, lack of internet and road connectivity, and loss of job opportunities.

The RECOMPETE Pilot Program, part of the CHIPS and Science Act, has been a focus of Education Fund for the last 18 months because it stands to further such access. As the program’s author, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), explained in our video from May 2022, the innovative program focuses on empowering distressed local communities to identify where investments will be most effective to increase economic opportunity and employment.

Under Rep. Kilmer’s leadership, Congress has allocated $200 million to be invested in interventions that spur economic activity in geographically diverse and persistently distressed communities across the country. 

Sixty-eight percent of the population in persistent poverty counties is rural, which is why this pilot program is such an excellent fit for rural communities. (Rural communities can check here to see if your community is eligible for RECOMPETE.) A program like this that focuses on distressed communities is needed to reverse the trend of leaving rural communities behind in federal programs.

RECOMPETE is extremely flexible, with acceptable projects ranging from investments in child care to boost workforce participation, to broadband infrastructure that makes telework more feasible, to brownfield development to create additional affordable workforce housing.

In the fact sheet that accompanied the map release, the EDA mentioned that the funding opportunity will likely be released within the next month. The first phase of the application process will be a Letter of Interest, and communities can begin cultivating project concepts now in preparation for submission.

The RECOMPETE Pilot Program is a proof of concept and the availability of funding depends on the appropriations process conducted by Congress each year. Congress appropriated the full amount — $200 million — for fiscal year 2023, but this amount is not guaranteed for future years, and advocates will need to continue pushing for full funding to truly run this innovative experimental program.

If your community may be interested in submitting a Letter of Interest to the EDA for the RECOMPETE Pilot Program and you would like to discuss your ideas, please reach out to our policy hub! You can reach Annie Contractor at


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