Spotlight: Celebrating Manufacturing and National Hispanic Heritage Months
October 5th kicked off Manufacturing Month with Manufacturing Day, a day to recognize the progress the U.S. has made on its growing manufacturing revival. The Trump Administration is celebrating this month by focusing on leveling the playing field and encouraging innovative opportunities to create more jobs across the country. According to an op-ed written by U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross, since January 2017, the manufacturing sector has added 348,000 jobs, with year-over-year manufacturing job growth in 2018 increasing at the fastest rate since 1995. In 2017, U.S. manufacturers produced over $6 trillion in gross output, nearing the largest production values on record.
EDA is supporting these efforts by investing in locally developed, manufacturing-focused economic development strategies that create jobs for more Americans and teach the vital skills needed to grow and sustain the industry. For example, EDA funds a national network of 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACSs) to help strengthen American companies that have lost domestic sales and employment due to foreign imports of similar goods and services. The 11 TAACs work with individual firms to develop a deep understanding of their unique competitive positions and, based on this understanding, help build and implement competitiveness strategies customized for each particular firm. Check out some examples of how TAACs are working with manufacturers in their regions to help them grow and thrive here.
October is also a time to honor all American citizens of Hispanic heritage and celebrate their rich and vibrant traditions in our diverse culture. In a recent proclamation, President Trump honored all American citizens of Hispanic descent and celebrated their rich and vibrant traditions of faith, family, hard work, and patriotism. EDA is proud to support many economic development strategies in support of Hispanic businesses and entrepreneurial development, and also works closely with Latin American countries throughout the Western Hemisphere through our ACE program to strengthen relationships and exchange ideas to spur economic growth.
Another way in which EDA has partnered with Hispanic entities this past fiscal year was through disaster recovery support, especially in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico. To date, EDA has awarded over $19 million to Puerto Rican communities affected by the 2017 hurricanes, helping rebuild local industry, including manufacturing.
Recently, for example, EDA invested $1.17 million in Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension, Inc. (PRiMEX) of San Juan, to provide assistance and training to local manufacturing businesses for disaster preparedness and resilience planning. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to retain 3,000 jobs and spur $3.5 million in private investment. PRiMEX is a private non-profit organization, organized in 1996 through the initiative of Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
There is still disaster recovery funding available. EDA has published the FY18 Disaster Supplemental Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) making $587 million available to eligible grantees in communities where a Presidential declaration of a major disaster was issued under the Stafford Act as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires and other natural disasters in 2017. We encourage your project proposals.