Department of Commerce redesignates 12 U.S. metro areas as ‘manufacturing communities’

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 163 views 

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced Tuesday (Sept. 28) that 12 metropolitan areas across the country will be redesignated as “Manufacturing Communities” through 2018 as a part of the Obama administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative. The communities were all initially designated under the first round of the IMCP competition in 2014.

The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership is a U.S. Department of Commerce-led program designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.

“These IMCP-designated communities are doing their part to develop comprehensive strategies to strengthen the local manufacturing sector and to attract business investment that makes our nation more globally competitive,” said Secretary Pritzker. “This administration’s commitment to working with local and federal partners on economic development and technical assistance supports President Obama’s goal of bolstering manufacturing, expanding exports, and creating good-paying jobs for American workers.”

To earn the initial designation, communities had to demonstrate the strength of an existing manufacturing industry in their region/community and develop strategies to make investments in six areas: workforce and training; research and innovation; infrastructure and site development; supply chain support; trade and international investment; and operational improvement and capital access.

“(The) redesignated communities have demonstrated great strength and have become increasingly committed to improving their regional manufacturing ecosystems,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Manufacturers’ ability to innovate, to make, and to sell to the world is critical to local economies and our nation’s economy.”

Following are the 12 Redesignated Manufacturing Communities.
• Southwest Alabama, led by the University of South Alabama
• Southern California, led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development
• Northwest Georgia, led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
• The Chicago metro region, led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development,
• South Kansas, led by Wichita State University
• Greater Portland region in Maine, led by the Greater Portland Council of Governments
• Southeastern Michigan, led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine
• The New York Finger Lakes region, led by the City of Rochester
• Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region, led by the City of Cincinnati
• The Tennessee Valley, led by the University of Tennessee
• The Washington Puget Sound region, led by the Washington Department of Commerce
• The Milwaukee 7 region, led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee

The redesignated metro areas will continue to receive coordinated support for their strategies from 12 federal agencies, including the Delta Regional Authority. They will also receive in support in federal economic development assistance, technical assistance, and matched/cluster funding from private entities.

The Obama administration officially launched the national IMCP competition in December 2013. Since 2013, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has invested nearly $23 million to support 49 IMCP projects and applicants across 26 states. Th projects anticipate creating or saving more than 1,080 jobs, and generating nearly $855 million in private investment.