WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – The commerce department has launched a new grant program meant to infuse up to half a billion dollars into the nation’s technology hubs.

The program aims to help grow the tech industry outside of Silicon Valley.

“We are going to make investments all over the country,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “You shouldn’t have to move from your hometown to San Francisco or New York City to get a great job in technology.”

To apply for the government grants, regions, states or cities need to partner with colleges and companies in the tech industries.

Michael Wallace with the National League of Cities says there are many related industries that could qualify.

“Rochester, Minnesota is home of the Mayo Clinic. Medical technology is certainly one of the eligible categories,” Wallace explained.

Secretary Raimondo says the types of eligible projects also vary from testing labs and upgrading facilities to worker training programs.

Congresswoman Susan Wild introduced the bill to create this program which was passed as part of the 2022 CHIPS Act.

“I just think we have outsourced too much of our economy to other parts of the world for way too long,” Rep. Wild said.

She says the money will also allow colleges better prepare students, saying the programs will be “designed almost to the specs of an employer or manufacturer or industry.”

The commerce department says the program could grow by another $4 billion dollars in the future.