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Fact Sheet: Make it in America Challenge

Fact Sheet: Make It In America Challenge

Addressing the Need
The Obama administration’s top priority is strengthening the economy and creating American jobs. In order to lay a foundation for an economy built to last, the administration has encouraged businesses to bring production back to the United States or expand their operations here. The United States offers significant competitive advantages—from a strong business climate to a highly-skilled and productive workforce—that make it a profitable place for businesses to invest. By investing in expanding in America, businesses can help put more Americans back to work.

The administration is working to help American workers and businesses thrive and restore middle class security by creating incentives, securing access to markets for U.S. exports, providing financial and technical support for companies to grow and expand, improving education and training opportunities to develop a skilled workforce, and enforcing global trade rules to ensure that American businesses and workers are competing on a level playing field. The administration is also working with communities across the country to help them meet the needs of businesses that want to build or expand their operations on American soil.

To advance these efforts even further and help ensure that we continue to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the world, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor are partnering on a new initiative—the Make it in America Challenge—that will provide the critical infrastructure, strategic planning, capacity building, technical assistance, and workforce development resources that will help American communities to be the desired home for more businesses.

In addition to preparing communities for business development, the Make it in America Challenge will help workers develop the skills they need to do the jobs of a 21st century global economy.  By investing in high-growth industries, spurring small business development, and encouraging job creation, this Challenge helps support businesses that are committed to making it in America.

The Make it in America Challenge
The Make it in America Challenge will provide $40 million in competitive grant funding through the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

Competitive applicants will propose projects that accelerate job creation by encouraging insourcing of productive activity by U.S. firms, fostering increased foreign direct investment,  incentivizing U.S. companies to keep or expand their businesses—and jobs—here at home, and training local workers to meet the needs of those businesses.

Make it in America will build upon the administration’s bottom-up approach to strengthening the economy by partnering with state, regional and local economies.  Successful projects will leverage funding from both funding agencies to include:

  • public works projects that revitalize, expand and upgrade physical infrastructure that will attract new industry or encourage business retention or expansion;  
  • technical assistance  in developing new strategies and tools to make their economies more attractive to insourcing or retention and expansion;  
  • technical assistance to companies looking to invest in innovative technologies, new products or services, or enhanced processes that will grow sales and jobs;  
  • targeted training and employment activities that support the local workforce needs of employers, move new and current workers up and along a career pathway, and strengthen America’s  highly-skilled and diverse workforce.

Evaluation Criteria
Funding for the Make it in America Challenge will be made available through a Federal Funding Opportunity that will be announced by the start of 2013.  Winning applicants will be selected by an interagency panel, which will evaluate applications based on the proposed project’s ability to satisfy the following core evaluation criteria:

1. The project’s ability to promote at least one of the following, including:
    a. Insourcing of productive activity by U.S. firms;
    b. Increased foreign direct investment;
    c. Retention and growth of U.S. businesses and jobs;

2.    Development of a highly skilled and diverse American workforce that moves new and current workers up and along career pathways with measurable outcomes, especially skills training completed and entered employment;

3. The project’s sustainability/durability;

4. Soundness of approach and applicant’s organizational capacity in terms of building regional public-private partnerships and attracting necessary resources;

5. The project’s alignment with a relevant strategic economic or business growth plan; and

6. The project’s anticipated economic and workforce development impacts, with measurable outcomes; especially jobs created/retained and private-sector investment leveraged.