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October 2015

Success Story – Wichita State University: Spurring Advanced Manufacturing in the Heartland

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Robots at the WSU Robotics and Automation Lab

It’s fitting that Wichita, Kansas is nearly dead center of the country (though the geographic center is actually nearby Lebanon, Kansas), because this Midwestern city is also at the center of some cutting-edge advanced manufacturing. Wichita State University (WSU) leads the South Kansas Manufacturing Community (PDF), which was named as an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designated community during the first round of IMCP competition. WSU also seeks to lead the country in advanced manufacturing and experiential engineering through its EDA-supported Innovation Campus.

Wichita State University first opened in 1895, when Wichita had only been a city for 25 years. At that time, the telegraph machine was considered innovative, cutting-edge technology. As the times have changed, WSU has sought to be a leader for Kansas and the country. In January 2014, WSU revealed its plans for an Innovation Campus as a key driver to help achieve the University’s new mission: To be an essential educational, cultural, and economic driver for Kansas and the greater public good.

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Highlight: Supporting Manufacturing in America

By Secretary Penny Pritzker

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Secretary Pritzker with Assistant Secretary Williams inspect a 3-D printed helmet at America Makes in Youngstown, Ohio

America’s manufacturers are creating good jobs, supporting successful careers, spurring innovation, and sustaining economic growth. Since his first inauguration, this iconic part of our economy has been a top priority for President Obama and this Administration. Manufacturing is growing at its fastest rate in decades. Today, this sector supports an estimated 17.6 million jobs in the United States—about one in six private-sector jobs. Manufacturers in the United States are driving innovation and are responsible for more than three-quarters of all private-sector R&D.

At the Department of Commerce, we work every day to connect manufacturers with the resources they need to succeed and thrive, through a number of initiatives.

For example, located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership is a national network with hundreds of specialists who understand the needs of America's small manufacturers. Our experts connect them with the resources and services they need to become more competitive, meet a new market challenge, improve their production processes, adopt a new technology, or take a new good to market. For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales. This is an exciting example of smart and effective government working specifically on behalf of America’s businesses.

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Spotlight: EDA’s Manufacturing Footprint

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Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine Announces EDA Investment to renovate two floors of Building 77 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial suites to ready them for growing companies

“The rumors of the demise of the U.S. manufacturing industry are greatly exaggerated.” Elon Musk

Elon Musk was probably trying to be clever when he made that quip about American manufacturing. But, that play on Mark Twain’s famous quote only tells half the story. Not only are the rumors of U.S. manufacturing’s demise exaggerated, they are currently a complete fiction. Manufacturing has experienced a resurgence all across the country, creating high-paying jobs in innovative areas and bolstering economic growth at a staggering rate. Manufacturing has the largest multiplier effect of any part of the economy. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector generates $1.32 for the U.S. economy. U.S. manufacturing comprises 12.5 percent of U.S. GDP and, taken alone, would be the 8th largest economy in the world. That’s why supporting American manufacturing has been a major priority for President Obama, Secretary Pritzker, and the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

In addition to spearheading the President’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative, EDA supports advancing manufacturing through its grants programs. In fiscal year 2015, EDA invested in more than 50 manufacturing-related projects totaling $62 million. That support takes many forms – it might be upgrading infrastructure serving a manufacturer, funding a facility to house a manufacturing plant, or supporting the development of a facility or program to train workers.

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EDA Issues Federal Funding Opportunity with New Application Forms and Processes

As highlighted in September’s newsletter, EDA has made some changes to its grant application forms and processes. The new forms are currently in effect through and the Federal Funding Opportunity reflecting additional new processes will be available in the coming weeks. Watch your email and for updates!


Register for the 2nd Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Summit

On October 21-22 in Washington, D.C., the Department of Commerce and its federal partners will be hosting the 2nd Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) summit to convene IMCP designated communities, applicants, federal representatives, and other interested stakeholders to share best practices and exchange ideas about promoting and bolstering American manufacturing. Registration is now open for the 2015 IMCP Summit. Please contact Julie Wenah with questions or for more information.


Assistant Secretary Williams to Provide Keynote at National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Conference

On Monday, October 26, EDA’s Jay Williams will provide the keynote luncheon address for the NADO Annual Training Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Register for the event. View the agenda. (PDF)


Planning Funds Still Available through POWER Initiative

There is still planning grant funding available for coal-impacted communities under the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative through EDA’s Planning and Technical Assistance programs. Check out EDA’s Federal Funding Opportunity for more information. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for information about the FY2015 implementation and planning grant recipients.

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Assistant Secretary Williams joins tribal leaders and artisans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota

EDA’s 2015 Department of Commerce Honor Awards recipients David Ives, Hillary Sherman, Thomas Pellegrino, and the 2014 Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) Team for their remarkable achievements

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Dave Ives (center) with Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews (left) and Assistant Secretary Williams (right) receives the Gold Medal for his work on the CEDS Guidelines
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From Left: Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews, Shawn Ricks from the International Trade Administration, Barrett Haga from EDA, Assistant Secretary Williams and ITA Deputy Secretary Ken Hyatt recognize Haga and Ricks for Silver Medal ACE program image