Main Entrance Herbert Hoover Building Commerce Department 14th Street Washington DC.  Building completed in 1932.  Across from the White House, Commerce has multiple departments.

Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the Build Back Better Regional Challenge Conference

Jun 15, 2022

Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the Build Back Better Regional Challenge Conference
Wed, 06/15/2022 – 14:40

Investing in communities and workers


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Office of Public Affairs

Gina M. Raimondo

Thank you, Assistant Secretary Castillo, for the warm welcome and good afternoon, everyone. It is great to be here with you in person.

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is the marquee of EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs and represents the Biden Administration’s commitment to rebuilding American communities, especially those that have historically been underserved.

These are big, holistic investments designed to really make an impact in areas that have been left behind.

The program was created with the belief that local community leaders—public, private, civic, and labor—are best positioned to build the blueprint of their own economic future.

We are proud that the BBBRC has facilitated the formation of so many strong, enduring partnerships that are building on local assets to best position regions to compete in the global economy and drive economic recovery across the nation.

I know our EDA team has worked closely with you all. Thank you to our EDA staff, NLC, America Achieves, and everyone here today who provided support to our finalists as they have been honing their visions for economic growth.

To the philanthropists and other federal agencies present, we hope you will think our finalists are as amazing as we do.

Our finalists have spent a tremendous amount of time thinking through bold strategies then fine tuning them into actionable plans. We know we can’t fund them all, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth funding — it just means we won’t have enough money.

Federal funding only goes so far. We encourage you to talk with them today and tomorrow to see how you can get involved and support their communities.

To our finalists, we applaud you on the incredible work that you are doing in your regions to create economic opportunity and ensure future prosperity.

Importantly, the model is built on equity, which is a priority for the Biden Administration.

For too many Americans, the pandemic is just one in a series of economic shocks that have battered their communities, reduced wages, and eliminated entire local industries.

Yet, all U.S. regions have existing assets that, with the right partnerships and investments, can be built upon to ensure that they can thrive in the modern, global economy.

The BBBRC is exactly the kind of place-based economic development that we should be doing. We cannot allow certain regions to be permanently hollowed out. Americans deserve to be able to work and thrive in their home communities.

To ensure workers at all skill levels benefit from innovation, the BBBRC invests in workforce programs that complement other local investments in research and technology. In fact, all BBBRC finalists have a workforce development component to support skill building and the placement of workers into quality jobs.

The BBBRC is also helping regional leaders like you build multi-stakeholder governance models, activate new partnerships and leverage more than $2 billion in corporate, philanthropic, state, and local matching funds.

By continuing to work together, we provide a model for others in government and in economic development to emulate.

Thank you again for your time and your commitment. We hope that you enjoy the convening and take the opportunity to get to know and learn from one another.

Bureaus and Offices

Economic Development Administration


Gina M. Raimondo


Secretary Gina Raimondo
Workforce Development

Read the full report from the U.S. Department of Commerce: Read More