With the primary election season in full swing, lawmakers are focused on initiatives that will make a visible impact in their home states and districts. One such effort is the recently introduced Made In America Manufacturing Communities Act, a bill that emphasizes a regionally driven approach to boost U.S. manufacturing and create jobs.  

Introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives, S. 2526/H.R. 4505 would create a program to competitively award regions with the “Manufacturing Community” designation. The two-year designation would give these communities preferred consideration when applying for up to $1.3 billion in existing federal economic development assistance across 11 federal agencies, with the Department of Commerce taking the lead.

The Obama Administration first launched the program as the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) in 2013 and has so far designated 24 regions as “Manufacturing Communities.” The new legislation will make IMCP permanent, allowing existing communities the opportunity to continue implementing their manufacturing strategies, and allowing new communities the chance to apply for designation.

Regional consortiums are eligible to apply provided they’ve organized key stakeholders from a targeted industry cluster into a working group focused on the needs of manufacturers. Key stakeholders might include manufacturing companies, state economic/workforce development offices, county/local governments, labor, academia, MEPs, local/regional chambers of commerce, non-profits, etc. The proposals must demonstrate how this regional public-private collaboration and coordination will use existing infrastructure and regional strengths to make a substantial impact on the community. The community impact requires investment in six areas: workforce development; advanced research; infrastructure development; supply chain support; export promotion and foreign direct investment; and operational improvement and capital access for manufacturers to support energy or process efficiency, equipment or facilities upgrades, the development of business incubators, and so on.

The legislation’s goal is to spur communities to develop integrated, long-term economic development strategies that strengthen their competitive edge in attracting global manufacturers and their supply chains to local communities—increasing investment and creating jobs. It is also intended to reduce the burden faced by small manufacturers and communities in navigating, accessing, and leveraging federal support to improve the business environment in their regions. The hope is that non-designated communities will also benefit from the example and best practices of the designees. 

AMT supports this initiative to build U.S. manufacturing strength using existing infrastructure, coordinating current resources across multiple federal agencies, and implementing through public-private collaboration—key tenets of the Manufacturing Mandate.

Please join AMT in thanking the bill’s sponsors: Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Kirk (R-IL), Moran (R-KS), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Coons (D-DE), and Representatives Cicilline (D-RI), Hanna (R-NY), Reed (R-NY), Ryan (D-OH), Katko (R-NY), and Doggett (D-TX). If your Senators and Representative are not on the list, urge their support. Contact information for members of Congress can be found at www.AMTonline.org/AdvocateForManufacturing.

Visit www.AMTonline.org/AdvocateForManufacturing or write me at athomas@AMTonline.org to find out how.