U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank announced the launch of the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership,” an Obama Administration initiative designed to help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs in cities across the country.
This effort rewards communities that demonstrate their plans to attract and expand manufacturing in their area, using targeted investments in workforce training, infrastructure, research and other key assets.
Deputy Secretary Blank unveiled the initiative at the new, 200,000-square-foot Able Engineering facility in Mesa, Arizona, a community that has leveraged the resources of the public sector, private firms and educational institutions to achieve a successful model of economic development. Mesa was hard-hit when Williams Air Force Base closed in 1993, leaving many aerospace engineers unemployed. The city took over the site, converted it to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, and came up with a plan to attract aerospace companies to the area, where they could capitalize on the existing workforce and benefit from being located near similar firms and nearby colleges. In just fifteen years, Able has grown into a multi-million-dollar conglomerate, servicing aircraft from around the world. Its continued growth and support for its workforce demonstrate the benefits of operating within a community like Mesa’s.
“This new partnership is designed to improve the way we use federal resources for economic development initiatives, in order to bring more investment to American communities and make them an attractive place to do business,” said Deputy Secretary Blank. “At the Department of Commerce, our mission is to help American businesses and the American economy grow and prosper. The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership will do both. Rather than creating targeted incentives for one company to locate in a particular area, the IMCP will challenge communities to coordinate their development efforts around workforce training, infrastructure, and innovation to create the best possible environment for investment. This initiative is an important part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to revitalizing American manufacturing, strengthening our economy, and creating good-paying jobs.”
President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, which was released last week, requests $113 million for the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to launch the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Fund, the centerpiece of the larger, multi-agency Partnership. As a competitive challenge, the Partnership would make awards to five to six communities that produce economic development plans intended to create an environment primed to attract investment. These plans should combine many of the elements companies seek when they are deciding where to locate or expand, such as:
- Specialized research centers at local universities and business incubators focused on a targeted technology sector;
- Community college programs to train workers in targeted industries;
- Public works projects to upgrade infrastructure or energy efficiency;
- Viable export promotion plans; and
- Well-integrated supply chains and an engaged stakeholder community.
The Fund would support five to six U.S. communities for competitively selected awards in 2014, each receiving up to $25 million from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, and the Fund would be supplemented by funding from other government agencies.
The 2014 awards will be preceded by smaller strategy grants in 2013 that will support efforts to produce economic development plans that follow the same comprehensive model -- recognizing the community’s comparative advantages as a place to do business, investing in public goods, and encouraging collaboration between multiple different entities so as to expand the area’s commercial appeal to investors. Solicitations for the 2013 awards will be released in the coming weeks.
For more information, please visit http://www.commerce.gov/news/fact-sheets/2013/04/17/fact-sheet-investing-manufacturing-communities-partnership.