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What is the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership?
The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) is a new Obama Administration initiative that will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in regions across the country. The IMCP will reward communities that best highlight their strengthens and demonstrate they can combine their efforts around workforce training, infrastructure and research centers to implement an economic development plan that will attract, retain and expand manufacturing investment.
By combining many of the elements companies seek when deciding where to locate their firms, this approach will help communities capitalize on the industrial growth taking place nationwide due to the United States’ competitive advantages in areas like energy, worker productivity, and intellectual property protection.
Who will lead the IMCP?
The IMCP will be an Administration-wide initiative that will be led by the Department of Commerce with support from other federal agencies.
How will the IMCP work?
The IMCP will make investments in communities across the country to build on their comparative advantages and strengthen their institutions and infrastructure to attract investment.
The IMCP has several components:
Unlike the first round of grants, which are for implementation strategies, these grants will be used to fund specific projects, such as the construction of infrastructure necessary to attract investment. The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will provide $113 million to fund these awards, which will be supplemented by resources from other federal agencies. In order to receive funding, recipients must demonstrate that they also have commitments from non-federal sources.
How will the first round of investments work?
The first round of awards will be made to local communities in 2013. These awards will support implementation-ready economic development strategies, designed to attract, retain and expand manufacturing investment and spur international trade and exports. These strategies should:
Successful projects will be regional in scope and focus on manufacturing sectors that demonstrate comparative advantages in the marketplace.
How will recipients be determined?
Applicants will be selected through EDA’s regular quarterly competitive process.
What is the deadline to submit applications?
The application deadline is June 13, 2013.
Who will fund this first round of investments?
EDA will provide $4 million in fiscal year 2013 for implementation strategy grants. Additional resources will also be provided by USDA, EPA and SBA.
Has the money for the first round of grants already been appropriated? Does Congress need to act in order for these planning grants to move forward?
The fiscal year 2013 grants are being funded with existing resources and do not require congressional action.
What is the minimum match required?
For the fiscal year 2013 planning grants, applicants must have a matching share (cash, in-kind, or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions), which must be available and committed to the project from non-federal sources. The basic matching requirement is 50% of the total project cost should be from local matching funds. EDA will give preference to proposals with higher local matching shares to further leverage federal funds and help ensure additional project impact.
When do you anticipate issuing solicitations for fiscal year 2013 implementation strategy grants? When do you anticipate making awards?
The opportunity to apply for federal funding was announced by the Department of Commerce in May 2013 and awards will be made in September 2013.
Will the applicants for the second round of investments be limited to the pool of communities that were involved in the fiscal year 2013 planning grant competition?
No. Any community eligible for an EDA grant may compete for the second round of funding, which is subject to the availability of Congressional appropriations. Funding awards in fiscal year 2014 will be judged based on the strength of community strategies to attract investment in manufacturing.
What are the kinds of activities that will be funded?
Department of Commerce funds will be used in concert with other federal agency investments as part of an overall plan. While EDA investments may go toward helping build research institutions, business incubators, or major public works projects, these investments must be done as part of an overarching strategy that envisions employment of other resources (including Department of Transportation infrastructure investments, Department of Labor support for new community college centers, National Science Foundation support for research institutions or U.S. Department of Agriculture rural site development).
What type of non-federal match will be required?
Communities applying for the fiscal year 2014 challenge should have a 2:1 nonfederal match ($2 dollars of local matching funds for each $1 of federal funds).
Which agencies and programs are providing funding?
For the fiscal year 2014 challenge, EDA will be providing up to $113 million (subject to the availability of funds).
Additional agencies will provide varied levels of funding through a joint solicitation with the Department of Commerce (DOC) or separate solicitations that have been aligned with the goals of the challenge (subject to the availability of Congressional appropriations). In other words, federal programs that provide funding to improve some aspect of a region’s competitiveness (creating university research centers and workforce training, upgrading local infrastructure, or supporting supply chain development) will no longer operate separately, but rather help communities build important linkages to attract private investment.
Are these funds going straight to companies to entice them to invest in the United States?
No, rather than flowing directly to businesses, these funds will be used to prepare American communities to attract business investment.
Who will compete for funding?
The IMCP is aimed at regions that can band together with a viable economic strategy for attracting private direct investment.The following entities are eligible for EDA funding:
Has this money already been appropriated? Does Congress need to act in order for these planning grants to move forward?
The fiscal year 2013 grants are being funded with existing resources and do not require Congressional action. The $113 million in funding for fiscal year 2014 was included in the President’s Budget, and requires congressional approval.
How are varying government programs, with different rules and regulations, going to be aligned? Do different programs have different, existing priorities and requirements?
It is true that different programs have distinct priorities and requirements. A goal of IMCP is to develop further a common framework for federal economic development programs, while ensuring that investments are complementary and build on strong local economic development planning.
Agencies participating in IMCP intend to publish a joint federal funding opportunity in fiscal year 2014 that will combine the resources and requirements of several agencies. The benefit to this collaboration is that applicants will only have to submit one application to access multiple sources of federal funding.
This initiative is part of a series of investments to assist communities in a more coordinated manner than through traditional approaches. The competition has been informed by previous interagency competitions, such as the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenges and the Make it in America Challenge.
From where does the funding for the fiscal year 2013 planning grants come?
EDA is making up to $4 million available through the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program. The funding from additional agencies in fiscal year 2013 will come from existing resources, and will not require Congressional action.
From where will funding for the fiscal year 2014 challenge grants come?
The $113 million in funding for fiscal year 2014 has been included in the President’s Budget.
Yes, the President has requested that Congress provide $113 million in funding for this initiative in fiscal year 2014.
Given the competitive advantages the United States currently enjoys in manufacturing investment, it is important that Congress and the Administration seize this opportunity, and approve this proposal. If this proposal is not approved, DOC will continue to pursue its reform of economic development, but may be limited in its ability to mount an adequately robust effort.
Is this new government spending?
IMCP represents an investment in American manufacturing which will result in greater job creation and a stronger U.S. economy. Some new investment will enhance and align with existing resources to more efficiently coordinate resources across the federal government in a more collaborative, strategic, and effective manner. The competition has been informed by previous interagency competitions, such as the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenges.
How can we afford a new government program at a time when federal spending is being cut?
This program is explicitly designed to maximize the impact of scarce federal dollars. This multi-agency initiative is part of a smarter government model that leverages funding and resources from various federal agencies, breaking down silos to achieve greater impact and return on investment. This initiative uses new and existing programs and funding to support bottom-up, local strategies to achieve greater job and economic growth across the country.
What's the difference between the Make it in America Challenge and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership?
Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has proven—through pilots like the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenges, i6 Challenges and other regional economy initiatives—the success of using coordinated, streamlined, multi-agency national challenges that break down silos and integrate federal resources in a highly effective way and that focus on regional economies and specific sectors.
Relative to the IMCP, these efforts are relatively small in scale. They have proven the concept of inter-agency investment, but have generally focused on a few aspects of economic development. Indeed, Make it in America is a partnership among three agencies (EDA, National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Department of Labor and the Delta Regional Authority) and mostly aligns workforce development with economic development efforts. The IMCP takes a holistic approach, attempting to synchronize programs from 10 federal departments and agencies, in an attempt to attract private direct investment.
Will some IMCP funding be limited to rural areas and/or brownfields?
USDA will be providing up to $1 million in fiscal year 2013 implementation strategy grants to rural areas. In addition, grants provided by EDA, EPA and SBA and may also be awarded to rural areas. Depending on the availability of funding for fiscal year 2014 challenge grants, some of the awards may be set aside to assist rural communities.
What do you recommend for communities that receive an implementation strategy grant but do not receive further federal funding?
We expect communities to move forward with their strategies using state, local, and private resources, even if federal resources are not made available.
How does such an approach actually attract business investment? And what role does SelectUSA play in this effort?
Policies at state and local levels often help shape a region’s attractiveness for business development. Company decisions to locate facilities hinge on access to a range of factors— skilled workers and technical colleges to train them, low-cost energy, specialized research centers, supply chains, and transportation infrastructure. The IMCP competition encourages communities to take the actions that are necessary to leverage their comparative advantages in ways that are narrowly tailored to attract key industry players. Whether a community wins the challenge or not, the act of planning—of competing—will make the city or region exponentially more prepared to attract private investment. With or without federal money, the community can credibly turn to private investors and let them know that they are open for business.
SelectUSA, which is the federal government’s investment promotion and facilitation arm, can serve as invaluable resource in connecting communities with capital. SelectUSA also helps investors deal with the full range of bureaucratic and regulatory requirements that they will confront. Some communities that compete won’t win the challenge, but all can have access to the government’s experts and resources as they look to capitalize on their proposal.
SelectUSA is the government’s investment promotion arm. It targets precisely those investors that IMCP communities are looking for, and will encourage those investors—foreign and domestic—to take a close look at IMCP grantees.
Visit www.selectUSA.gov for more information.
Is this a form of centralized federal industrial planning?
No, the IMCP relies on regions to develop their own plans. It is a bottom-up effort, designed to help new and existing federal programs better align with local planners and their public/private partners. It will also help regions cut through federal silos, at a fiscally constrained time when every level of government could benefit from coordinated efforts (particularly focused on manufacturing).