Newly Announced Tech Hubs Aim to Spur Technology Innovation Outside of Silicon Valley

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Oct 23 2023 |
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Photo courtesy Secretary Gina Raimondo on Facebook

The Commerce Department’s designation of 31 new tech hubs is “designed to drive regional innovation and job creation” in 32 states and Puerto Rico.

The Biden administration on Monday unveiled more than two dozen new tech hubs, located in 32 states and Puerto Rico, that are part of the first phase of a new program funded by the CHIPS and Science Act aiming to spur innovation in communities across the country.

The tech hubs initiative is design to boost American innovation in strategic areas — including biotechnology, clean energy, critical supply chains, quantum mechanics, autonomous systems, and materials manufacturing — while also drive economic development and job creation in places that traditionally have not been home to innovation.

For example, the Nevada Lithum Batteries and Other EV Material Loop hub will focus on creating a “self-sustaining and globally competitive full lithium lifecycle cluster, spanning extraction, processing, manufacturing, and recycling.” In Ohio, the Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub will accelerate efforts to create “sustainable plastic and rubber technology that has reduced emissions and is recyclable, biodegradable, and non-toxic.”

And in Virginia, the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Tech Hub is set to increase domestic manufacturing of critical medicine and other pharmaceuticals (which is part of an effort in central Virginia that we explored on an episode of The Manufacturing Report podcast).  

In remarks delivered at the White House on Monday, President Biden said the new hubs will allow “the U.S. to lead the world again in innovation across the board.”

“The list goes on. We’re doing this from coast-to-coast, and in the heartland and rich states and blue states, small towns, cities of all sizes,” Biden said. “All of this is part of my strategy to invest in America, and invest in Americans.”

The Tech Hubs program also will include funding to train Americans to work in the fields of the future, including efforts to recruit people from communities traditionally left behind, Biden noted. And much of the money is being directed to areas of the country that saw opportunity decline due to the offshoring of manufacturing, the president added.

“Over the past few decades, these communities have lost more than jobs. They’ve lost a sense of dignity, of opportunity, sense of pride,” Biden said. “We’re going to change all that.”

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a call with reporters on Sunday that there had been tremendous interest in the new Tech Hubs program.

“I have to say, in my entire career in public service, I have never seen as much interest in any initiative than this one,” she said.

Watch Biden’s full remarks below.