By Martha Ross, Joseph Parilla
The 60 finalists for the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) represent a new source of insights around inclusive economic development. In this new era of federal support for place-based industrial strategy, the BBBRC is one of the first occasions in which state and local actors are equally prioritizing economic growth and equity.
This piece highlights one notable BBBRC finalist: Driving Regional Innovation through Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE). Submitted by a University of Alabama-led coalition, DRIVE sets out big goals, including revitalizing Alabama’s rural communities, providing pathways to good jobs, and supporting a vibrant electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem. And it stands out for emphasizing education and training as crucial means to reach those goals.
The DRIVE coalition illustrates a broader shift toward talent-driven economic development
Regional and state economic development approaches have historically played a limited role in education and workforce development. Rarely do economic development strategies directly involve the K-12 education system or engage with talent development partners to prepare people…