The grant, which will be matched with funds from Lee County and CDF, a private-sector organization, was announced on Monday by U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, D-Booneville.
The CDF project brings to $6.4 million in federal funds announced in the past five days for jobs-development efforts for the region.
Itawamba Community College, it was announced Friday, will receive $3.7 million for its new workforce training campus in Tupelo's Belden area near the U.S. Highway 78/McCullough Boulevard interchange.
CDF has a long history of partnering with federal and/or state agencies - and politicians in both parties - to gain funding and support for its strategic goals.
The cost-sharing project will expand the IDEA Center's size by 80 percent, from 31,000 square feet to more than 55,000 square feet, allowing growth in its training operations and other small business development functions.
CDF leaders began the active process of obtaining American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the project in February. The ARRA, which is intended to be a jobs-creating program, included funding for business incubators, a proven jobs-creating method, in its first round of shovel-ready grants.
The ICC and CDF funds from ARRA comprise 4 percent of total nationwide funding, $150 million, for similar work under the Economic Development Administration.
CDF President David Rumbarger said the project, with pre-construction design by the McCarty architectural firm in Tupelo, would be let to contract within 120 days.
Brad Morris, Childers' chief of staff, said CDF wrote and submitted the application, with Childers providing support as it made its way through the process. Morris said the $150 million program was specific to the stimulus legislation and would not have been available without it.
Morris said the application's key asset is a focus on regional jobs creation in a transitioning economy like Northeast Mississippi.
Rumbarger said part of the expanded center will house some CDF employees, and he said CDF would examine the possibility of eventually moving its operation to the IDEA Center.
CDF and the Lee County Board of Supervisors, through financial commitment and cooperation, have made the best of a singular opportunity.
When federal funding is available for important projects, ignoring it is counter-productive, especially for a goal as important as creating new jobs and better wages.