Manchester reaches Phase 2 of Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig on Dec. 13, 2021. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Monday, Manchester was named as one of the finalists for Phase 2 of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

Manchester reached Phase 2 after being chosen as one of the applicants phasing Phase 1 of the process, which included 529 projects from all 50 states and five U.S. territories. The 60 participants in Phase 2 will receive $500,000 to develop studies to present plans that could result in anywhere from $5 to $100 million for successful applications, with a submission deadline of March 15, 2022.

Manchester is the only Phase 2 participant in New Hampshire and one of only four in New England.

This is the first time Manchester has participated in an EDA grant proposal, with this specific challenge designed to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

In partnership with the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the University of New Hampshire (UNH) – Manchester, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) and the Manchester-Transit Authority (MTA), the city submitted proposals in the field of BioFabrication, including a manufacturing facility, worker training and innovation center, research accelerator and cluster work and learn program for local disadvantaged and college students.

Additional proposals include a teaching airport at MHT to support aerospace apprenticeship, multimodal transit infrastructure improvements across the heart of the city and a vertiport logistics network to help deliver organs quickly to a hospitals, technology parks and manufacturing bases across the northeastern U.S. and southern Canada.

According to Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, the proposal has the potential to create from 7,500 to 15,000 direct jobs in the region, and increase the rate of GDP growth by over 30 percent.

“I am thrilled the City of Manchester was named a finalist for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, along with our partners at ARMI, SNHU, UNH, MHT and MTA,” said Craig. “Through this grant, we’ll strengthen the connections between the world-class institutions of higher education, industry, and transit that exist in our region to create high-paying jobs, comprehensive job training programs, and equitable infrastructure.”

Other local leaders also celebrated the news.

“We are pleased to see the U.S. Economic Development Administration has shown interest in Southern New Hampshire’s Build Back Better regional challenge application,” said Steve Thiel, Assistant Vice President of Community Impact, SNHU.  “Greater Manchester is poised to benefit from these critical investments in workforce, education, and the economy, and SNHU is proud to play a leading role in expanding access to higher education for public school students in Manchester as part of this work.”

“Over the last decade, our region has become a leader in BioFabrication, fostering state-of-the-art innovations in biomaterial and cell processing, bioprinting, and automation. ARMI is honored to continue this partnership to further not only this emerging industry but our community, said Dean Kamen, Founder, Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute. “I want to thank Mayor Craig for leading this application and ensuring that Manchester is a city poised for the future.”

The news follows a recent announcement that Manchester is receiving $25 million in RAISE Grant funding.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted that the RAISE grant funding Manchester is receiving was part of $1 billion awarded across the country out of a total $10 billion in submitted applications.