Rhode Island's congressional delegation and Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced that the state has won a first round "Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership" (IMCP) grant of $100,000.
Designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs in cities across the country, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded 26 federal IMCP strategy grants to communities around the country. This federal funding will help the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) and its collaborative partners enact long-term economic development strategies intended to create a business environment that leads to well-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs.
RIEDC is collaborating with manufacturers, universities and local partners on a proposal to create a design and manufacturing center in Rhode Island. The center would provide critical support services, such as workforce training, assistance with research and development, and product development to local manufacturers. Earlier this summer, Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressmen Langevin and Cicilline brought federal officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce up to Rhode Island for a meeting at the University of Rhode Island's Providence campus with a diverse group of business leaders, researchers, economic development organizations and other stakeholders to discuss the IMCP application process.
"Growing Rhode Island's economy has been a priority for my administration and winning this grant reinforces that manufacturing is still a big part of our economy and who we are as a state," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "Through this grant, we will be investing in creating jobs in Rhode Island and strengthening our efforts to send a message beyond our borders that Rhode Island is a great place to live and work."
"This is a great opportunity to attract key resources, jobs and business to Rhode Island," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. "I am proud to support the state's efforts and pleased the U.S. Department of Commerce has selected Rhode Island as one of the initial winners of these manufacturing community partnership grants. Rhode Island is home to some of the world's greatest minds in research and design, and I am confident the state will put together a strong application for the next round of competitive funding."
"Manufacturing has been at the center of our Rhode Island economy since we helped jumpstart the industrial revolution with Slater Mill," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "Today's announcement reinforces the Obama Administration's commitment to helping us revive our state's manufacturing sector, which has been struggling to compete in the new global economy. This is the kind of support our manufacturing businesses need to thrive and create jobs."
"Rhode Island was once a center of manufacturing, and I believe the dream of reviving that industry is a realistic one," said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. "In order to do so, we must create an environment that allows manufacturing to thrive, incentivizing businesses to set up shop in Rhode Island and encouraging young people to pursue training opportunities that will ready our state's workforce. This grant will help our state send a message to manufacturers that a renaissance of this critical sector is within our reach."
"Rhode Island is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and our manufacturing sector will play a critical role in getting our state back on the right track and creating good-paying jobs for working men and women," said Congressman David N. Cicilline, the sponsor of the Make it in America Manufacturing Act, who took the lead in convening the Rhode Island stakeholders who submitted this successful grant application. "I am proud that we were able to help secure this $100,000 grant to leverage Rhode Island's inherent strengths and reinvigorate our manufacturing sector. I look forward to continuing to bring back federal funding to support Rhode Island manufacturers, small business owners and middle-class families."
"This federal funding, along with matching contributions from the Rhode Island Foundation and the RIEDC, will be critical to developing a business environment in Rhode Island that helps local manufacturers succeed and create quality jobs in the state," said Marcel A. Valois, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. "Through collaboration with manufacturers, universities and local partners, we will be able to provide the necessary tools to help manufacturers invest in innovation, and integrate technology, workforce training, and new business models to thrive in a competitive global marketplace."
In addition to this new federal funding, the RIEDC will contribute $25,000 and $50,000 in in-kind services, with the Rhode Island Foundation contributing $25,000 towards the project.
Now that the first phase of IMCP grants have been awarded, the U.S. Department of Commerce will begin a second round of competition. In the 2014 "Challenge competition," the Obama Administration will designate stand-out "Manufacturing Communities" and give them an advantage in securing grants and investments through programs offered by 10 federal departments and agencies across the government. Moreover, top "Manufacturing Communities" may receive large IMCP Challenge grants and investments to finance – in partnership with industry and localities – substantial economic development investments such as workforce training, business parks or incubators, or infrastructure.