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U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Bruce Andrews Delivers Closing Remarks at First-Ever Investing In Manufacturing Communities Partnership Summit

Friday, October 31, 2014
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Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews today delivered closing remarks at the first-ever Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) Summit, where he announced the opening of the competition for the next round of designations under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership initiative. The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program, an Administration-wide initiative coordinated by the Commerce Department, is 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.

Hosted by the U.S. Commerce Department and its Economic Development Administration (EDA), the summit provided an opportunity for the 12 IMCP-designated Manufacturing Communities to share best practices for promoting American manufacturing. IMCP is an initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds. It encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments. Designated communities receive coordinated support for their strategies from eleven federal agencies as well as preferential consideration for a number of federal grants. During the summit, non-designated communities had the opportunity to learn from the best practices employed by the 12 designated Manufacturing Communities.


Remarks As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Jason, for the kind introduction. Thanks also to Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Jay Williams for your leadership in our Department in promoting smart, sustainable economic development in communities nationwide.

I am particularly proud of our entire team at the Economic Development Administration for their leadership on IMCP and for their work with colleagues across federal agencies to make this event a success. 

Revitalizing, rebuilding, and expanding our nation’s manufacturing sector has been a top priority for President Obama and this Administration from day one. And today, we can see the results: American manufacturing is on the rise; and America’s manufacturers are as competitive as ever.

All you need to do is look around this room and see how many people are here and how many communities are looking to grow their manufacturing base to understand how we’ve come.

In many ways, we come together today at the best point in most of our lifetimes for U.S. manufacturing.

I can remember, when I started working at Ford Motor Company, hearing Alan Mulally say, “Ford has been going out of business for 62 years, and we have to turn that around.” He was right. And Ford and the auto industry, slowly but surely, became great examples of the broader comeback in American manufacturing.

The numbers tell the story of this resurgence: Since February 2010, U.S. manufacturing has added more than 700,000 quality jobs, the fastest pace of growth since the 1990s. Right now, more than 17 million Americans go to work each day in a job supported by the manufacturing sector.

For all of our progress in this sector, everyone from the President to Secretary Pritzker to the rest of our team knows that we cannot rest on our laurels and our past accomplishments. We live in a globally competitive economy – and our competitors are not standing idly by. To keep America a step ahead, we must carry our momentum forward and ensure our manufacturers continue to grow.

To meet this task, just this past Monday, President Obama unveiled new executive actions to strengthen U.S. advanced manufacturing, spur innovation, and take more steps to make the United States a magnet for new jobs and investment.

At the Commerce Department, we are prepared to do our part in this effort – and central to our role is the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. IMCP is an important building block in the Administration’s manufacturing competitiveness agenda. Launched in 2013 and led by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, IMCP represents a new approach to federal economic development.

IMCP brings federal agencies together with local communities to meet our shared goals. IMCP is an acknowledgement of the importance of supporting economic development from the ground up. IMCP is an acknowledgement that it makes a difference when you have a strategy crafted with deep understanding of a region’s comparative strengths - including key technologies, workforces, and infrastructure. IMCP is an acknowledgement of the value of public-private partnerships in turning American communities into globally-competitive commercial hubs. Through IMCP - entrepreneurs, academics, and private sector leaders are cooperating and devising cutting-edge strategies to accelerate long-term manufacturing growth, investment, and job creation.

You are here today in pursuit of that goal. And at the Department of Commerce and across the federal government, we are committed to be your partners. We will leverage our resources to reward communities with a strong, comprehensive economic development agenda. We will continue to use initiatives like IMCP to drive growth and innovation across our manufacturing sector and throughout our country.

As part of this effort, 11 federal agencies and programs with $1.3 billion in federal economic development assistance are coordinating efforts to advance manufacturing in designated IMCP communities. We made the first round of IMCP designations less than six months ago. It was an intensely competitive process. We saw many strong proposals, but could only select 12 out of nearly 80 applicants. We are still in the early days of the initiative. But we’re already seeing results. Let me give you three examples.

First, IMCP is strengthening the Southwestern Ohio aerospace region, which has been awarded two Department of Labor grants totaling $17.5 million: One grant awarded $15 million to the 11 colleges in the Ohio TechNet program, which are working with industry to develop an advanced manufacturing competency model program with new or modified credentials and degree programs. Participants will enter at multiple points based on skills and needs. The other grant designated $2.5 million to establish a Supply Chain Career Development Center at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College for trade-impacted workers, veterans, and other adults that will address a critical regional employer need.

Second, IMCP is investing in South Kansas, where EDA committed $1.9 million to purchase equipment for a state-of-the-art multi-robotic additive manufacturing lab at Wichita State University. This equipment will help the region test and develop new technologies that could ultimately benefit a wide variety of industries, including the transportation and medical sectors. It will also provide opportunity for training in advanced technologies for students and workers.

Third, IMCP is bolstering the Tennessee Valley region with a short term grant of nearly $100,000 from EDA to the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. These funds are intended to amplify the opportunities presented by the IMCP designation throughout a 69 county region that is home to nearly 600 automotive manufacturing establishments, making it one of the premiere territories for auto and auto parts output in the nation.

At this meeting, you’ve had a chance to hear about these results and more. You’ve heard about exciting progress in communities that were designated. You’ve heard the success stories from communities that were not designated in the first round, but are seeing the benefits of simply pulling together the right partners to focus on their economic development strategies.

All of these stories are important to us. All of them demonstrate the value of our IMCP efforts – how our program is serving as a catalyst for action, progress, and smart strategies even in communities that didn’t receive the designation in the first round.

Today, I can tell you that those stories might just yield new federal investments in the near future – as we are proud to announce the opening of the next round of designations under IMCP.

We plan to release a Federal Register notice in November requesting applications for additional Manufacturing Community designations. Your communities and others will again have an opportunity to compete for a designation that will elevate them in consideration for over $1 billion in IMCP funding and assistance. This second round of the IMCP competition reflects an ongoing commitment on the part of our Department and the Administration: to incentivize comprehensive, coordinated, and integrated approaches to strengthening American manufacturing.

IMCP is a core component of Commerce’s mission to create the conditions for long-term, lasting economic growth - to keep our workforce competitive and our companies thriving; to ensure our nation remains number one in creativity and innovation around the world.

IMCP is a clear success so far. And together, with all of you, we will make sure that IMCP continues to deliver results for our communities – and continues to keep America open for business.

We look forward to working with you. Thank you.