California stands up to earn White House manufacturing funds

150 150 Ed Coghlan

(photo credit: Paul Li)

You hear it everywhere these days–the importance of improving the manufacturing climate in the United States.

In fact, advancing manufacturing is one of the signature initiatives identified by regional meetings held in advance of November’s California Economic Summit in Los Angeles.

The Obama Administration has been pushing the same theme nationally and has a program called “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP).They recently held their only meeting in California in Woodland and attracted 125 people in the roundtable meeting, which was sponsored by the White House and the USDA.

USDA’s California Rural Development Director, Glenda Humiston, discussed the enormous opportunities in the bio-economy. She is leading one of the Summit’s other signature initiatives called Working Lands which is designed to encourage efficient land use that promotes the health of ecosystems as well as livelihoods that are based on natural resources.

The IMCP is part of a national manufacturing strategy. 25 communities around the country will be awarded $200,000 each later this year to create an implementation strategy. In addition, 5-6 communities will be awarded up to $25 million each next year from the U.S. Commerce Department for manufacturing strategies that are ready to go.

The state of California has been emphasizing this sector as well, and this program presents an opportunity for the governments to work together.

“We share a common focus on growing the sectors important to our regions,” said Von Ton Quinlivan, vice chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development for the California Community Colleges. “This program gives us more tools in California to support businesses growing jobs.”

She also thinks it is critical that the state and federal agencies work together to optimize this opportunity.

“It is important that we work together to ensure that these resources are effectively utilized,” she added.

At the meeting, a public-private partnership group called Innovate North State garnered a lot of attention. Jon Gregory discussed what have been doing as a good example of regional collaboration looking for new ways to grow the California economy.

They are concentrating on five industries: agriculture, cleantech, health, web and information technology as well as manufacturing. They have identified 100 manufacturing companies in the northern part of the state, and are planning to submit a proposal to the IMCP.

Many meeting participants learned what they already know. Many issues facing economic development in California are similar from region to region. Improving the workforce preparation, finding capital in order to build and expand businesses and improving infrastructure from roads to broadband.

Now that you’ve heard about Innovate North State, are there similar activities going on in your region? If so, we’d love to share your story with our network. 


Ed Coghlan

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