PAWTUCKET – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline today held a press conference at the Cooley Group in Pawtucket to announce the introduction of the Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act – legislation that will permanently authorize the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The proposal was introduced with the support of House Manufacturing Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), as well as Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY), Congressman John Katko (R-NY), and Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
“In Rhode Island, manufacturing is written into our DNA. Good-paying manufacturing jobs helped build our middle class, and after so many years of seeing these jobs sent overseas, it’s time we reclaim our identity as a leading center of American manufacturing and innovation,” said Cicilline. “Today, I’m delighted to announce the introduction of the Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act. This bill, which is being introduced with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, will guarantee us an opportunity to strengthen our ability to compete for federal funding to grow manufacturing jobs, strengthen our local economy, and bring together leaders in business, government, non-profit, and education to develop new strategies for moving our state forward.”
“We care about creating and keeping quality, family sustaining jobs right here in the United States,” said U.S. Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY), who is the lead Republican co-sponsor of Cicilline’s bill and serves as the House Manufacturing Caucus Co-Chair. “It’s only right that we come together to develop common sense solutions that ensure our manufacturers stay competitive and help working families. We are proud to work across the aisle with Congressman Cicilline, as well as with our Senate colleagues Senators Gillibrand and Kirk, to support this bill.”
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 via the IMCP program for a “manufacturing community” designation that will enhance its ability to leverage federal funding to expand advanced manufacturing and create good-paying, middle class jobs. Under the proposal, 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 federal economic development assistance from one of the following agencies:
· Appalachian Regional Commission
· Delta Regional Authority
· Environmental Protection Agency
· National Science Foundation
· Small Business Administration
· U.S. Department of Agriculture
· U.S. Department of Commerce
· U.S. Department of Defense
· U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
· U.S. Department of Labor
· U.S. Department of Transportation
Without explicit Congressional authorization, the IMCP program could be discontinued by the next presidential administration. Cicilline’s legislation will permanently codify the program, ensuring that Rhode Island retains the ability to secure a manufacturing community designation regardless of who succeeds President Barack Obama.
Cooley Group CEO Dan Dwight added, “Cooley is supporting the Make It in America Manufacturing Communities Act because it is a bipartisan initiative that is designed to promote collaboration between private sector, higher education and government, which fits directly with Cooley’s strategic objective of promoting Global Collaboration in order to drive sustainable growth.”
«One of the many benefits of this act is the opportunity to strengthen local and regional public-private partnerships to drive economic development,» said Greg Victory, Rhode Island School of Design’s Executive Director of Continuing Education. «RISD teaches the critical thinking and making skills that lead to innovations in product development, manufacturing, and business processes. We congratulate and thank Congressman Cicilline for his leadership on this important legislation.»
New England Council President and CEO Jim Brett added, “When it comes to promoting the tremendous potential for job creation in New England’s advanced manufacturing sector, it is essential that diverse stakeholders work together across state lines to overcome existing challenges and build the networked, collaborative environment the industry needs. Congressman Cicilline’s new legislation applies that thinking to help our manufacturers utilize their existing strengths in order to succeed and prosper in today’s global economy. The New England Council is proud to support the Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act, and thanks Congressman Cicilline for his longtime leadership on behalf of our region’s manufacturers.”
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. After taking office, he introduced the Make it in America Block Grant Program Act – a proposal would ultimately garner 50 Democratic co-sponsors in the House. In February 2013, Cicilline authored an updated version of the proposal – the Make it in America Manufacturing Act – and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a companion measure in the Senate. The bill did not garner a Republican co-sponsor in either the House or Senate.
“Manufacturing is the backbone of Central New York’s economy. In order to move our region’s economy forward, we must work to move manufacturing forward,” said U.S. Congressman John Katko (R-NY). “This bipartisan, bicameral legislation does just that by ensuring that manufacturers in our region are able to compete for federal funding for education, modernization, and skills training for our workforce. I thank Rep. Cicilline for his bipartisan efforts on this legislation.”
“Upstate New York has a proud history of being a manufacturing hub from its earliest days,” U.S. Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY) said. “Over the years that edge dwindled and we saw stalled growth, but now we are back on the upswing with new interests in nanotechnology and other tech-related manufacturing fields. We have seen public dollars enhance private investments to translate into more jobs and a better local economy. I support this bill because our communities in Central New York and the Southern Tier can not only compete to be manufacturing hubs, but with an extra push can transform themselves into globally competitive markets.”
“As the only city in Texas to receive the manufacturing community designation, San Antonio can benefit from this bill. San Antonio, with its edge in technology, business leaders, and universities, is a manufacturing leader. With manufacturing such an important part of the Bexar County economy, this bill builds on my effort to expand opportunity and train our workforce to meet the demand for high-skilled, high-paying jobs,” added U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
Several of the key provisions in Cicilline’s legislation were implemented as part of the IMCP program that President Obama announced in February 2013. These include:
· Incentivizing business, education, government, and non-profit leaders to come together to collaborate on ways to expand advanced manufacturing;
· Incentivizing collaborative efforts at the local level to address gaps in workforce training;
· And more efficiently leveraging federal funds to create regionally-driven hubs of manufacturing and innovation that are equipped to compete in a 21st century economy.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) will introduce a companion measure in the U.S. Senate. In addition to the bipartisan support it has already received in Congress, the Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act has been endorsed by leading public policy organizations, including the American Small Manufacturers Coalition, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Manufacturing Alliance of Communities.
“New York has one of the greatest manufacturing traditions in the country, and we need to help ensure that our local communities have the chance to become leading national manufacturing hubs in the 21st Century,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bipartisan legislation will unlock millions of dollars in federal economic development funds for smart investments in high impact projects and leverage public-private partnerships to help create good-paying manufacturing jobs, jumpstart new businesses, and grow our economy for years to come.”
“If we want Rhode Islanders to have a shot, then we have to focus on skills that matter and jobs that pay,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “This legislation provides a great opportunity for businesses, universities, and government to partner together to compete for federal money to help grow our advanced industries and build a new Rhode Island economy. I am grateful to Congressman Cicilline for his focus on this important initiative over the past five years, and I look forward to continuing to partner together to keep the momentum going in our state.”
«Our manufacturing sector is poised for growth,» said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. «Governor Raimondo is committed to strengthening our manufacturing sector through public-private partnerships such as the new Westerly Higher Education Skills Center that will train highly skilled workers for Electric Boat. Our business incentives, such as the Qualified Jobs tax credit, are already helping to grow manufacturing in our state. With the leadership of Governor Raimondo, Congressman Cicilline, the General Assembly, and private partners such as Polaris MEP and the Rhode Island Manufacturing Association, we are creating the conditions for success.»
Cicilline’s press conference today took place less than two miles from Slater Mill, the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution in 1793. 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.