The United States government on Monday selected 31 technology centers distributed in 32 states and Puerto Rico to help promote innovation and create jobs in industries concentrated in those areas.
“We will invest in critical technologies such as biotechnology, critical materials, quantum computing, and advanced manufacturing so that America will once again lead the world in all aspects of innovation,” said President Joe Biden. “I truly believe this country is about to fly.”
The technology hubs are the result of a program launched in May by the Department of Commerce to distribute a total of $500 million in grants to cities.
That $500 million comes from a $10 billion allocation in the Science and CHIPS Act, which was enacted last year to encourage investment in new technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biotechnology. It is an attempt to expand investment in technology, which is mainly in some American cities—Austin, Texas; Boston, NY; San Francisco, and Seattle—to the rest of the country.
“I have to say, in my entire career in public service, I have never seen as much interest in any initiative as I have in this,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters on a conference call Sunday to see the announcement. His department received 400 applications, he said.
“Everywhere I go or who I meet—CEOs, governors, senators, congressional staff, college presidents—everyone wants to talk to me about their applications and how excited they are,” Raimondo said.
The program, which has the official title of the Regional Technology and Innovation Centers Program, relates to the president’s argument that people should be able to find good jobs where they live and that the opportunity should be distributed throughout the country rather than concentrated in some places. The White House has sought to bolster that message and promote Biden’s policies as the Democratic president begins his 2024 re-election campaign.
The 31 centers are located in Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Montana, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, New Hampshire, Missouri, Kansas, Maryland, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Minnesota, Louisiana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New York, Nevada, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Ohio, Maine, Washington, and Puerto Rico.