Bill would help create more good-paying manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and U.S. Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand today reintroduced the bipartisan Make it in America Manufacturing
Communities Act – legislation that can revitalize Rhode Island’s manufacturing
sector and create good-paying jobs for hardworking Rhode Islanders. The proposal has
been introduced in the House with the support of House Manufacturing Caucus
Co-Chairs Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), as well as
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY). It was introduced in the U.S. Senate with the
support of Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Senator
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Angus King (I-ME), and Senator Susan Collins
(R-ME).

“Good-paying jobs in manufacturing built Rhode Island’s middle class. It’s time we
reclaim our identity as a leading center of American manufacturing and innovation.
Let’s start making things in Rhode Island and America once again,” said Cicilline
(RI-1). “I’m proud to reintroduce the bipartisan Make it in America Manufacturing
Communities Act. This bill will help Rhode Island better compete for federal funding
to grow manufacturing jobs and strengthen our local economy. Let’s keep Rhode Island
moving forward.”

The bipartisan Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act would codify into
law a successful program, the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership
(IMCP), started by the Obama Administration, which allows communities around the
country to compete to receive preferential consideration for federal economic
development funds. 24 communities around the country have already been designated
“Manufacturing Communities” and have received targeted investment and support to
make their regions more competitive. The program’s future is uncertain without
authorizing legislation, but this bipartisan bill would make it permanent so that
more communities around the country can compete for this designation.

The Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act will create new opportunities
for Rhode Island, which was a leading center of American manufacturing throughout
the 20th century, to compete for federal resources. The legislation permanently
authorizes the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program
administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

“I care about working in a bipartisan manner so that we can create jobs here at
home. We have to work together to make sure American manufacturers stay competitive.
This is done by encouraging different levels of government to work with businesses
and education leaders to help manufacturers succeed,” said Congressman Reed (NY-23).

“Public-private partnerships are critical to a strong manufacturing sector and I am
proud to support this legislation that would allow our communities to foster and
grow these important relationships. As someone who grew up in Northeast Ohio, I have
seen firsthand how manufacturing is the back-bone of the American economy, and it is
our duty as leaders to ensure that we not only protect these jobs, but increase the
opportunities for the next generation. As our economy continues to grow and
modernize, manufacturing can no longer be viewed as the jobs of the past, but also
the careers of future,” said Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13).

“Upstate New York has a rich history of manufacturing products used around the
world. Iconic companies including Remington Arms, IBM and Oneida Limited were all
founded in the heart of my district. However, New York has struggled from
manufacturing job loss in recent decades,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney
(NY-22). “As the owner of a small manufacturing facility, I understand the
importance of public support and the impact it can have on local job creators.
Partnerships created by this legislation will ensure that our local economies thrive
by giving job creators the opportunity to become competitive and lead in their
industries.”

Given its inherent manufacturing strengths, Rhode Island will be well-positioned to
receive a “manufacturing community” designation through the IMCP program. Receiving
this designation will enhance Rhode Island’s ability to leverage federal funding to
expand advanced manufacturing and create good-paying, middle class jobs.

Under the legislation introduced by Cicilline, Rhode Island would bring together at
least one institution of higher education, one private sector entity, and one
government entity, as well as other key stakeholders, to apply for a manufacturing
community designation. This designation will give Rhode Island additional
consideration when applying for economic development assistance from federal
agencies. Unless Congress passes Cicilline’s proposal, the IMCP program could be
discontinued by the Trump administration.

“New York has the best manufacturing workforce in the country, but too many
good-paying manufacturing jobs have left our state,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We
need to do everything we can to keep good-paying manufacturing jobs in New York and
bring back the good-paying jobs that have already left. I am proud to introduce this
bipartisan bill, and I will continue to do everything I can to fight for New York’s
manufacturing workers.”

“With eight West Virginia counties participating in the Investing in Manufacturing
Communities Partnership, this legislation will help strengthen and support the
manufacturing industry in the Mountain State. One such example has been in Weirton,
West Virginia, where a welding company received financial assistance to help expand
and renovate their property. I am glad to join with my House and Senate colleagues
to introduce legislation that will help strengthen our manufacturing sector and
promote needed job growth in West Virginia,” said Senator Capito (R-WV).

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) added, “Our bipartisan bill will give Connecticut
a competitive edge as it seeks federal funding to create manufacturing jobs and
boost the local economy. Connecticut, with its thriving aerospace and shipbuilding
industry, is a true manufacturing leader. By offering federal guidance, strong
educational partnerships, and new funding opportunities, this bill will help ensure
that this vital manufacturing community continues to expand and innovate.
Manufacturing is the backbone of our economy, and I look forward to working with my
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this promising legislation.”

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.

Today’s announcement follows years of work by Cicilline to strengthen Rhode Island
manufacturing. During his first campaign for Congress in 2010, Cicilline proposed
establishing a Make it in America Block Grant to provide resources for American
companies to retool their facilities and retrain workers to compete in a 21st
century economy.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Rhode Island remained a leader of American
manufacturing, with 127,000 Rhode Islanders holding factory jobs by the late 1960s.
In recent years, however, bad trade deals and a failure to support working families
reduced the number of manufacturing jobs to less than 40,000 in January of 2012.

Cicilline’s proposal leverages Rhode Island’s inherent and historic strengths to
help restore good-paying jobs and make Rhode Island a manufacturing center once
again.