December 21, 2021

Maryland Delegation Announces the Howard County Economic Development Authority as a Finalist in the Build Back Better Regional Challenge to Strengthen Maryland’s Cybersecurity Efforts

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) announced an award of $500,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to the Howard County Economic Development Authority to continue developing its Maryland Cyber Workforce Solutions (Solutions) project on behalf of a coalition of Maryland local governments, including Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Charles County, Harford County, Howard County, Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. The grant was awarded through Phase 1 of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) “Build Back Better Regional Challenge.” By competing successfully for a Phase 1 grant, Howard County and its partners will have the opportunity to further develop specific project ideas and compete for a larger amount of funding for implementation in Phase 2.

The proposal from the Howard County Economic Development Authority aims to leverage Maryland’s strength as a leader in cybersecurity and to open up more pathways for workers to enter into this field and contribute to its continued growth and innovation.

“As we have seen over the last few weeks with the Maryland Department of Health’s recent cyberattacks, we must continue to strengthen and reinforce our cybersecurity efforts in Maryland to protect us from online threats, security breaches, and hacks that jeopardize our safety and privacy. That’s why the creation of the Solutions project is critical – so we can stay at the forefront of this rapidly developing field by investing in our workforce and continuing to grow jobs,” the lawmakers said. “This new round of America Rescue Plan funding will help expand opportunities in the cybersecurity community and strengthen our middle class through skills training programs. We will keep working to provide our communities with critical federal funding and assistance to build back better and stronger.”

This funding opportunity was made possible by the American Rescue Plan, one of Congress’ key legislative accomplishments this year aimed at driving economic recovery from the near-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic with an eye towards future growth and competitiveness. Specifically, this “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” aims to boost economic pandemic recovery and rebuild American communities, including some that have been grappling with decades of disinvestment. It also provides transformative investments to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters across the country, all while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally.

The Phase 1 award granted to the Howard County Economic Development Authority Solutions project is an outcome of a highly-competitive process in which 529 applications were submitted to the EDA, highlighting the strong interest and need across the country for concerted economic development planning on a regional scale. Phase 1 of the challenge required regions to submit unique plans that will develop industry, train the local workforce and build economies. As a finalist, the Howard County Economic Development Authority will compete for Phase 2 of the challenge for an award of $100 million for 3-8 projects across Maryland that support an industry sector.