Senior U.S. Dept. of Commerce Official Visits St. Louis to Celebrate the Metro’s $25M Federal “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” Grant

A senior U.S. Department of Commerce official today visited St. Louis to celebrate the region’s recent win of a $25 million highly competitive federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alejandra Y. Castillo joined Greater St. Louis, Inc., Representative Cori Bush, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, and other metro leaders for a tour of North St. Louis and a roundtable discussion with grant partners.

“This grant is a big win for the St. Louis metro. It continues our positive momentum and demonstrates the power of what happens when we speak with one voice and work together as one metro,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc., which was the formal applicant on behalf of the St. Louis metro, an effort it coordinated and spearheaded with the public-sector St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “We are proud to welcome Assistant Secretary Castillo to St. Louis to show her the impact of the federal government’s investment and to highlight our efforts to work as one metro to make St. Louis a national center for advanced manufacturing.”

The grant will be used to develop the St. Louis region’s globally significant advanced manufacturing industry cluster, including the construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center (AMICSTL) in North St. Louis City. The Greater St. Louis, Inc. proposal was one of only 21 selected to receive a grant, less than 4% of the original applicant pool of 529. In addition to the $25 million federal grant, $16.3 million in local matching funds will go toward the effort, bringing the total investment in the metro to $41.3 million.

Advanced Manufacturing & The St. Louis Regional Tech Triangle

In addition to growing the metro’s advanced manufacturing sector, the grant will continue the development of two of the metro’s next generation industries: bioscience and geospatial technology. These three sectors comprise the St. Louis Regional Tech Triangle, which will grow the regional economy through workforce development, community revitalization and locational equity, and innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Advanced manufacturing and the Tech Triangle align with the strategic recommendations of St. Louis’ Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the STL 2030 Jobs Plan.

The centerpiece of St. Louis’ award-winning proposal is the construction and operation of AMICSTL. AMICSTL will bolster the region’s competitiveness and resiliency in advanced manufacturing and facilitate convergence of the advanced manufacturing sector with the other key industries in the region, including geospatial, bioscience, agtech, and aerospace.

Assistant Secretary’s Visit to St. Louis

Assistant Secretary Castillo kicked off her visit with a tour of North St. Louis, where she saw the under-construction Next NGA West campus and the site next to Ranken Technical College where AMICSTL will be built. The two locations, along with BioSTL at Cortex Innovation Community, form geographic points of the Tech Triangle.

Following the tour, Castillo joined St. Louis Build Back Better partners for a roundtable discussion at the offices of Greater St. Louis, Inc. Roundtable participants included GSL, SLEDP, AMICSTL, Ranken Technical College, Rung for Women, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College, BioSTL, Harris-Stowe State University, WEPOWER, Small Business Empowerment Center, Boeing, St. Louis Community College, and the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Innovation Center at Cortex.       


Collaboration in support of the Greater St. Louis, Inc. proposal spanned the breadth of the 15-county bi-state St. Louis metro. In addition to the roundtable participants mentioned above, supporters included: City of St. Louis, Cortex, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, East Central College, Economic Development Council of St. Charles County, Entrepreneur Startup Business Development Corporation (dba Arch Grants), Gateway Global American Youth and Business Alliance, Jefferson College, Lewis and Clark Community College, Missouri AFL-CIO, St. Louis County, Saint Louis Public Schools, St. Charles Community College, St. Clair County, Illinois, St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, St. Louis Development Corporation, St. Louis Makes, Technology Entrepreneur Center, Inc., and more.

Grant Funding

The $25 million award will be distributed toward several projects that will help grow St. Louis’ advanced manufacturing regional economy, including:

  • AMICSTL: $7M (Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center & Ranken Tech)            
  • Inclusive Cross-Cluster Economic Development: $3M (Greater St. Louis, Inc. and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership)                              
  • Preparing Women for Advanced Manufacturing Careers: $1M (Rung for Women)  
  • Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy: $2.5M (Southwestern Illinois College)         
  • Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center: $3M (St. Louis Community College)         
  • Racial Equity in Innovation and Entrepreneurship: $7.5M (BioSTL, Harris-Stowe, WEPOWER, Small Business Empowerment Center)
  • Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Innovation Center: $1M (Cortex)