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Place-Based Programs and Promise Zones:
Department of Education Discusses Priorities for Discretionary Investments

Oct 25, 2013

The Secretary of Education has proposed a priority that the Department may use for any appropriate discretionary grant program in fiscal year 2014 and future years, stating that it takes “this action to focus Federal financial assistance on expanding the number of Department programs and projects that support activities in designated Promise Zones.

This action will permit all offices in the Department to use this priority, as appropriate, in any discretionary grant competition.

Promise Zones will align the work of multiple Federal programs in high-poverty urban, rural, and tribal communities that have both substantial needs and a strong, evidence-based plan to address them. The five primary goals of Promise Zones are creating jobs, increasing economic activity, improving educational opportunities, reducing violent crime, and leveraging private investment. The initiative builds on lessons learned from existing place-based programs, such as the Department's Promise Neighborhoods program.

In order to be designated as a Promise Zone, communities must demonstrate the strength and effectiveness of their local commitment through a competitive, transparent process managed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Designated Promise Zones must identify a set of outcomes they will pursue to revitalize their communities, develop a strategy to achieve and sustain those outcomes, and realign local, State, Federal and, as applicable, private resources accordingly. The Federal government will partner with the Promise Zones to help them access the resources and expertise they need, including the resources from the President's signature revitalization initiatives to ensure that Federal programs and resources support the efforts to transform these communities. Specifically, Promise Zones will: Receive Promise Zones tax incentives, if enacted by Congress, to stimulate hiring and business investment; benefit from an intensive Federal partnership through collaboration with Federal staff to provide specialized technical assistance; and have increased access to additional investments that further the goals of job creation, additional private investments, increased economic activity, improved educational opportunity, and reduction in violent crime.

The Department solicits comments on or before November 25, 2013 through its October 25, 2013 FEDERAL REGISTER notice.

Click here for full background and the narrative coverage of the priorities (absolute, competitive preference, invitational, and final).