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Blumenthal Introduces Legislation to Create Regional Manufacturing Hubs, Invest in Manufacturing Jobs

Legislation Would Create Permanent Program to Put Designated “Manufacturing Communities,” including the Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Communities Region, in Front of the Line to Receive Federal Economic Development Funding

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of U.S. Senators and Representatives in introducing legislation to boost American manufacturing. This legislation would grow the manufacturing industry across the country by creating a permanent program that designates local regions as “Manufacturing Communities,” which would put them in the front of the line to receive federal economic development funding specifically for the purpose of investing in manufacturing.

The bill would provide permanent funding for the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program that President Obama launched in May 2014. This critical program has provided federal economic development funding for twenty-four communities around the nation, including the Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Communities Region, a partnership between manufacturers including Pratt and Whitney and Electric Boat, workforce development non-profits, the state’s technical high schools and state agencies. The partnership currently oversees a $30 million Manufacturing Innovation Fund to help lead growth in the state’s aerospace and shipbuilding industries and ensure students and workers are prepared to succeed in the skilled jobs that those industries provide.

Blumenthal was joined in the effort by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Chris Coons (D-DE) along with Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH), John Katko (R-NY) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).

“This bipartisan measure will put Connecticut at the front of the line for critical federal funding for focused direct investment in its thriving manufacturing sector. Our aerospace and shipbuilding industries are already fueling growth in high-skilled, high-paying jobs through Hartford’s Advance Manufacturing Communities Region, and this public-private partnership will spur more research, innovation and economic opportunity,” said Senator Blumenthal.

To bolster more growth in the American manufacturing industry, this bill would create a permanent program to competitively award regions with the “Manufacturing Community” designation. This designation would give these communities preferred consideration when applying for up to $1.3 billion in currently available federal economic development funding for manufacturing. This legislation encourages a regionally-driven approach to strengthening the manufacturing industry. To compete for funding through this program and earn the “Manufacturing Communities” designation, communities would create regional partnerships with key stakeholders such as local and state economic development officials, local governments, manufacturers, labor organizations, and higher education or other training providers. 

In order to earn the Manufacturing Communities designation, communities would demonstrate the significance of manufacturing in their region and develop strategies to utilize their “Manufacturing Communities” designation in making investments in six areas:

  • Workforce training and retraining;
  • Advanced research;
  • Infrastructure and site development;
  • Supply chain support;
  • Promotion of exports and foreign direct investment; and
  • Operational improvement and capital access for manufacturers that supports energy or process efficiency, equipment or facility upgrades, the development of business incubators, among other activities.

A current Administration program has launched 24 “Manufacturing Communities” around the country. This proposal will make this program permanent, allowing existing communities the opportunity to continue to implement their manufacturing strategies, and allowing new communities the opportunity to receive a designation.

The Senate version of the bill, led by Senator Gillibrand, is titled the “Made in American Manufacturing Communities Act.” The House version of the same bill is led by U.S. Representative David Cicilline and titled the “Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act."


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