By Vicki Needham - 05/28/14 06:04 PM EDT
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on Wednesday announced the first 12 communities chosen as manufacturing hubs under a new federal program, which is designed to grow jobs and increase exports.
The Commerce-led program — Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) — is aimed at accelerating manufacturing growth around the country through the creation of long-term economic development plans to attract private investment and boost trade and exports.
Pritzker called the program "a critical part" of the Open for Business Agenda to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and lure more investment to the United States.
"Innovative programs like IMCP encourage American communities to work together to craft strong, clear, strategic plans to attract manufacturing investment and jobs to transform themselves into globally competitive commercial hubs," she said.
From the 70 communities that applied, the 12 selected by an interagency panel were evaluated based on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential effects on their regions and their range of public and private partnerships to see the plans through.
“IMCP is one of the main programs at the center of the administration’s efforts to support job creation and accelerate manufacturing growth to make our communities more globally competitive,” said Jay Williams, assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
The 12 areas will receive coordinated support for their strategies from 11 federal agencies with $1.3 billion available in federal economic development assistance.
"I am excited that the Department of Commerce chose Southern California for one of the partnerships,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.).
"I look forward to seeing that ingenuity combine with federal funding and support to create a wave of great American jobs.”
The first 12 Manufacturing Communities include:
• Southwest Alabama, led by the University of South Alabama
• Southern California, led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development
• Northwest Georgia, led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
• The Chicago metro region, led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
• South Kansas, led by Wichita State University
• Greater Portland, Maine region, led by the Great Portland Council of Governments
• Southeastern Michigan, led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine
• The New York Finger Lakes region, led by the City of Rochester
• Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region, led by the City of Cincinnati
• The Tennessee Valley, led by the University of Tennessee
• The Washington Puget Sound region, led by the Puget Sound Regional Council
• The Milwaukee 7 region, led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee