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Obama Administration Seeks Applicants for First Phase of 'Investing in Manufacturing Communities' Partnership

This Press Release is cross-posted from the Department of Commerce Office of Public Affairs. You may view the original press release here.

Effort will encourage an improved approach to economic development around the country

The Obama administration today announced that it is accepting applications for the first phase of the "Investing in Manufacturing Communities" Partnership, a new initiative outlined in the President's fiscal year 2014 budget that will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs across the country.

Phase One of the "Investing in Manufacturing Communities" Partnership: In the first phase of this effort, the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture as well as the Small Business Administration and Environmental Protection Agency will award at least 25 grants of up to $200,000 each to help regions develop long-term economic development strategies intended to create a globally competitive environment that will attract, retain and expand investment and spur international trade and exports. These "Implementation Strategies" will encourage collaboration at the local level to identify the region's comparative advantages and assets, and plan investments to expand the area's appeal to manufacturers. In addition, these grants can be used to help communities prepare for the second phase of this initiative, IMCP "Challenge" grants.

Phase Two of the "Investing in Manufacturing Communities" Partnership: President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget includes funds for the Department of Commerce to award five to six IMCP "Challenge" grants, expected to be up to $25 million each. These funds are intended to be supplemented by coordinated investments from several other federal departments and agencies. The 2014 challenge will reward communities for having the best long-term strategies for attracting private investment and increasing exports, and 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; business incubators focused on targeted technology sectors; community college programs to train workers in targeted industries; public works projects to upgrade infrastructure or enhance energy efficiency; viable export promotion plans; well-integrated supply chains; and an engaged community of local government, education, workforce, and business leaders.

Deputy Secretary Blank unveiled the "Investing in Manufacturing Communities" Partnership on April 17, 2013 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.

"This first round of Implementation Strategy grants will lay the foundation for what the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership seeks to accomplish: encouraging strategic planning at the local level that will maximize a region's ability to attract investment," said Deputy Secretary Blank. "Overall, this new partnership is designed to improve the way we use federal resources for economic development initiatives, by challenging 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."

"Manufacturing continues to be a tremendous job-creator across our nation–including in rural America," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Today, more and more companies are manufacturing incredible new products across rural America, including more than 25,000 'biobased' products–things we use every day that are created from homegrown materials. By making investments today that create new opportunity for manufacturers, we're sowing the seeds for well-paying sustainable jobs tomorrow."

"The United States has some of the world's most innovative small manufacturers and entrepreneurs, and the 'Investing in Manufacturing Communities' partnership is a key step forward in building America's manufacturing capacity across the board," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "SBA is proud to be involved in this initiative as it will help communities strengthen and increase opportunities for small businesses in our manufacturing supply chains, which will help them do what they do best, grow and create jobs."

"Communities that once housed large manufacturing sites already have significant advantages–from infrastructure access to skilled workforces - which can be applied to new and advanced manufacturing opportunities," said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "EPA's Brownfield Area Wide Planning grant program enables us to use the economic development expertise and resources throughout the Obama administration to assist local communities in transforming these outdated sites into prosperous manufacturing centers. This program, in addition to other coordinated federal technical assistance programs like E3, will help grow manufacturing and strengthen communities across the country."

To apply for Fiscal Year 2013 Implementation Strategy grants, please visit:

For more information on the entire IMCP, please visit


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