MESA, AZ - U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank last week announced the launch of the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership,” an Obama Administration initiative said to help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs in cities across the country, including in the wood products sector. This effort rewards communities that demonstrate their plans to attract and expand manufacturing in their area, using targeted investments in workforce training, infrastructure, research and other key assets, the Commerce Department said.

The new partnership is designed to improve the way federal resources are used for economic development initiatives,Blank said, to bring more investment to American communities and make them an attractive place to do business. “At the Department of Commerce, our mission is to help American businesses and the American economy grow and prosper,” she added. “The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership will do both. Rather than creating targeted incentives for one company to locate in a particular area, the IMCP will challenge communities to coordinate their development efforts around workforce training, infrastructure, and innovation to create the best possible environment for investment.”

President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget, which was released earlier in April, requests $113 million for the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to launch the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Fund, the centerpiece of the larger, multi-agency Partnership. As a competitive challenge, the Partnership would make awards to five to six communities that produce economic development plans intended to create an environment primed to attract investment.

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