The RECOMPETE pilot program passed as a part of the CHIPS Plus Act earlier this month could change the dynamic that big cities are usually first in line for federal grants, as it focuses on economically distressed communities which are overwhelmingly rural.

Still, for rural communities to be able to utilize this and other federal opportunities, they need people who can do the work of applying for and administering grants.

“With the infrastructure bill, there’s going to be a lot of programs that are opening up all at once and they’re going to have similar deadlines, overlapping deadlines, and that can be pretty tough for a single person who this isn’t even their full-time job to do,” Jerry Miller from the Idaho Department of Commerce told the Public News Service.

This realization that rural communities are face a structural disadvantage to access federal funding because of limited capacity isn’t new, and new approaches to ensuring equitable delivery of federal programs is a standing opportunity.

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