Public Input for the Launch of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Visioning Challenge
The Obama Administration announces and requests public comments on the structure of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Visioning Challenge (SC2 Pilot Challenge), which is a component of the SC2 Interagency Initiative led by the White House Office of Urban Policy. The SC2 Interagency Initiative is a multi-agency, capacity- building effort to coordinate Federal resources offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Small Business Administration, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (collectively, the ``SC2 Interagency Partnership''), to address the many planning, housing, and economic challenges facing communities across the United States. The President has called upon executive departments and agencies to work together more strategicallythrough better coordination of human, regulatory and financial resourceswith economically distressed cities in the Nation by identifying barriers to federal assistance. Subject to the availability of funds under Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance program (42 U.S.C. 3149), the SC2 Pilot Challenge will offer a total of $6 million to support the development and implementation of comprehensive economic development strategic plans for approximately six cities. Each of the winning cities (one selected in each of EDA's six geographic regions) will be awarded $1 million to conduct a community-led challenge competition (referred to as the ``Challenge Competition'') with the support of the SC2 Interagency Partnership, and will receive technical assistance and support from EDA to conduct the Challenge Competition. As a part of the Challenge Competition, each city will invite multidisciplinary teams, representing a variety of disciplines with complementary skills in the economic development arena, to submit proposals for comprehensive economic development strategic plans establishing and promoting a vision and approach to stimulate local economic development. The proposals are expected to be multi-faceted, to include plans to restructure and realign land-uses, infrastructure, and economic and social resources (e.g., industry clusters, workforce development), and economic development approaches that promote competitiveness and high-growth potential. The final comprehensive economic development strategic plan for the city will be based on a genuine understanding of the local, regional, and global economic realities. The plan will serve as a blueprint to guide the city's and region's future investments towards economic prosperity. To design the Challenge Competition, EDA anticipates using the new authority granted to Federal agencies to conduct prize competitions and challenges under the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-358 (2011)) (America COMPETES Act). In this regard, EDA will engage a prize and challenge expert to help develop the competition framework, including rules regarding eligibility, potential prize amounts, process and other criteria, that each winning city will use to run its local Challenge Competition. Through this notice, EDA requests public comments on the structure of the SC2 Pilot Challenge, in particular regarding how the agency can best use the America COMPETES Act authority to conduct prize competitions to implement the SC2 Pilot Challenge. Please also see the section titled ``Solicitation for Comments on the SC2 Pilot Challenge'' for a list of specific questions. Subject to the availability of funds in FY 2012, EDA anticipates publishing a federal funding opportunity (FFO) notice to announce the SC2 Pilot Challenge in December 2011.