WASHINGTON — The White House announced Monday it is designating 31 technology hubs to improve American competitiveness in the technology sector. The hubs will be able to compete for $40 million to $75 million apiece in grants, the White House said.
A tech hub designation is “a strong endorsement of a region’s plan to supercharge a critical technology ecosystem and become a global leader over the next decade,” the U.S. Economic Development Administration said on its website.
President Joe Biden said in his scheduled remarks Monday afternoon: “These tech hubs will be transformational, and they’re part of a long line of transformational investments we’ve made since I took office. And as a result, I truly believe this country is about to take off, because for the first time in a long time, we’re investing in America.”
The move was authorized under the CHIPS and Science Act, the White House said, which Biden frequently touts as a highlight of his economic agenda. The act, which he signed in August 2022, aimed to improve semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains in the U.S. It also authorized $10 billion to invest in technology hubs nationwide, according to the administration.
“These Tech Hubs will catalyze investment in technologies critical to economic growth, national security, and job creation, and will help communities across the country become centers of innovation critical to American competitiveness,” the White House said in a news release.
The hubs focus on a wide variety of technological areas, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, clean energy, medicine and biotechnology. The hubs are in 32 states and Puerto Rico, and they include areas with tribal governments, coal communities and states with smaller populations, the Economic Development Administration said.
The designations “will be a widely recognized indicator of each region’s potential for rapid economic growth on the basis of their technological strength, and we believe will make it even more attractive to private investment and job creation,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday on a call with reporters. “The designations reflect the diversity of our country. Many of our hubs include small cities, rural areas, historically underserved communities.”
The White House release said that “for too long, economic growth and opportunity has clustered in a few cities on the coasts,” adding that the hubs announced Monday were chosen to “represent the full diversity of America.”
About six minutes into his remarks on Bidenomics, Biden said he had to go to the Situation Room “with another issue.” The remarks took place as Hamas reportedly released two more hostages after its attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
After his remarks, Biden responded to a reporter’s shouted question about a cease-fire, saying, “We should have a cease-fire.”
“Not a cease-fire,” he corrected himself. “We should have those hostages released, and then we can talk.”