The Baltimore region originally secured a place in the Federal Tech Hubs Program in October alongside 30 other cities and regions. Initially, the region aimed for a share of $10 billion in federal funding over five years to develop in artificial intelligence and biotechnology sectors and create tens of thousands of new jobs. However, Baltimore was among the regions that did not proceed further in the second round of funding announced Tuesday, with approximately $504 million in grants going to 12 other tech hubs.

A consortium leading Baltimore’s initiative initially sought $70 million for its four proposed projects, with a local commitment of $7.7 million. These plans hoped to create a sustainable workforce, modern biomanufacturing plants, improve entrepreneurship, and foster innovation. Although disappointment was expressed, the federal grant of $500,000 was promised to support re-application in the next funding cycle.

The Tech Hubs Program, initiated by the Biden administration, focuses on channeling investments into neglected tech economies across the United States while making them competitive in the tech of the future. The program intends to help overlooked regions comprising rural, tribal, industrial, and disadvantaged areas, according to Vice President Kamala Harris. The subsequent funding phase will be distributed with $4 billion in allocations, and the Baltimore region can enhance its application with additional strengthening and time.

Together, the 12 recently funded regions will receive estimated awards ranging from $19 million to $51 million. The 31 officially designated Tech Hubs have together attracted more than $4 billion in committed investments. The CHIPS and Science Act, passed in August 2022, authorized $10 billion in funding for the federal program over the next five years. So far, an amount of $541 million has been appropriated for the program run by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration.

If additional funding becomes accessible, the Economic Development Administration indicates plans to invest in more tech hubs furthering the program’s continued prosperity. The Baltimore region envisioned that its successful completion of projects would generate 32,700 direct jobs and an estimated 65,600 jobs due to suppliers and induced jobs during the next decade. The region would invest in technology using artificial intelligence and machine learning for health data applications, including diagnoses and drug development.

There is strong support from various parties, including local tech firms, academic institutions, state and local government entities, economic development agencies, and workforce development groups to develop the regional tech hub. Over 100 support letters have been collected, outlining the commitment of more than $800 million, including direct investments, matched funds for Tech Hub projects, and partners prepared to contribute existing investments to support the hub objectives.

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