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Blog Category: Make It In America Challenge

Breaking Down Silos to Foster Innovation

Regional Innovation Strategies Map

Communities understand what their needs are better than any outside organization. They understand that in order to affect real change, they need to work collaboratively with businesses, non-profits, and other government agencies. The Obama administration has been utilizing public-private partnerships in numerous initiatives, as well as promoting interagency groups and supporting collaboration across agencies. EDA is one of the agencies leading this charge, and, since fiscal year 2010, has invested in 65 collaborative investments throughout the country.

EDA has teamed with ARC, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, and the Delta Region Authority on the Rural Jobs and Accelerator Challenge, which has resulted in $9 million in coordinated investments to support 13 partnership and innovation clusters across rural America. Today, the winners of the competition are providing entrepreneurs and businesses with research and development support to foster innovation, build supply chains, and hire and train workers here in the United States.

In 2012, EDA led the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a partnership among several federal agencies, to support initiatives that strengthen advanced manufacturing and accelerate innovation in technology at the local level. Challenge winners like AMP! – The Advanced Manufacturing & Prototype Center of East Tennessee – are creating a collaborative environment where manufacturers work together with economic development resources, workforce development organizations, and research institutions. Read more about AMP! in NIST’s Manufacturing Innovation Blog.

Obama Administration Awards $20.5 Million In Make It In America Challenge Grants

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, along with U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, and Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, today announced the 10 winners of the Make it in America Challenge, an Obama administration initiative to accelerate job creation and encourage business investment in the United States. The 10 grantees will receive a total of $20.5 million for projects supporting regional economic development, advanced skills training, greater supply chain access and other enhancements. The programs are designed to encourage U.S. companies to keep, expand or re-shore their manufacturing operations—and jobs—in America, and to entice foreign companies to build facilities and make their products here.

The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Labor Department’sEmployment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) are providing funding for the winning proposals. Additionally, Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) plans to make awards in early FY2014.

“Given our competitive advantages in energy costs, research and development, labor productivity, and intellectual property protection, there is no better place to do business than the United States," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. The Make it in America Challenge grants support innovative, regionally-based strategies that will encourage businesses to capitalize on those advantages.”  Full release

Obama Administration Announces Make It In America Challenge Accepting Applications Through May 31

Challenge Focused on Encouraging Businesses to Bring Production Back to the United States or Expand Domestic Operations

The Obama Administration today announced that it is accepting proposals through May 31, 2013, for the Make it in America Challenge, a $40 million competition funded by multiple federal agencies that is designed to encourage investment and job creation in the United States. Up to 15 awards will be made to challenge applicants who put forth one plan to accelerate job creation by encouraging re-shoring of productive activity by U.S. firms, fostering increased foreign direct investment, encouraging U.S. companies to keep or expand their businesses—and jobs—here at home, and training local workers to meet the needs of those businesses.

Challenge applicants must submit applications that leverages complementary Federal funding sources to support the development and implementation of a regionally driven economic development strategy. Eligible challenge applicants must demonstrate support of the development and implementation of a regionally driven economic development strategy. Applicants must provide a detailed description of all activities that will be undertaken, a summary of how these activities support the overall project’s goals, and a clear data-driven overview of anticipated impacts. Applicants will be evaluated based on their ability to meet the criteria set forth in Section VI.A of the Federal Funding Opportunity. All proposals must be submitted through www.grants.gov.  

The Make it in America Challenge builds on the Administration’s efforts to encourage companies – large and small, foreign and domestic, manufacturers and service firms – to increase their investment in the United States. The President’s initiatives include eliminating tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and providing tax credits for companies that bring jobs back, investing in American workers to ensure they have the skills they need, modernizing our infrastructure, and taking action to ensure that American businesses and workers are competing on a level playing field.

Acting Secretary Blank Speaks With Council of Foreign Relations on Increasing the Level of Business Investment in the U.S.

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Answers Questions After Her Remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations

This afternoon, Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank spoke before the Council on Foreign Relations about the Obama administration's initiatives to help businesses expand their investment in the United States and bring jobs back home. The Commerce Department works to attract investment across all sectors, but in her remarks Blank focused on manufacturing because that sector has added more than half-a-million new jobs since 2009, compared to the previous decade in which six million manufacturing jobs were lost. In addition after decades of watching American companies take jobs to other countries, more and more manufacturers are making the decision to keep factories and production facilities here in the United States and are bringing jobs back to the U.S. from overseas through insourcing.

Blank mentioned that the renewal of the manufacturing sector is driven by America’s quality infrastructure, skilled labor, and advanced research and innovation that are critical for manufacturers to thrive. Business leaders list a number of reasons why the U.S. looks so attractive to them right now, including the fact that domestic energy production is lowering the cost of oil and natural gas needed in manufacturing. A second reason for investing in the U.S. is a competitive edge in labor productivity. America’s manufacturing workers now produce about nine percent more each hour than they did in 2008.

Blank noted that the list of reasons that CEOs give for investing here is longer still. America has a strong rule of law and a good regulatory environment. Additionally, the U.S. has the strongest level of intellectual property protection–and our patent system is only getting better due to the 2011 passage and implementation of the America Invents Act. America has the best universities in the world, producing graduates that drive entrepreneurship and feed innovation into our private sector.

Acting Secretary Blank Announces $40 Million Initiative to Challenge Businesses to Make it in America

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Announces $40 Million Initiative to Challenge Businesses to Make it in America (Photo: Roberto Westbrook and STIHL Inc.)

Yesterday, Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Virginia Beach, Va., where she toured the STIHL manufacturing plant and announced a new initiative to strengthen the economy by supporting American businesses as they make things here in America and create jobs. The Make it in America Challenge is designed to accelerate the trend of insourcing, where companies are bringing jobs back and making additional investments in America. The competition, which is being funded by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, will build upon the administration’s bottom-up approach to strengthening the economy and creating jobs by partnering with state, regional and local economies.

The national competition will help provide the critical infrastructure, strategic planning, capacity building, technical assistance, and workforce skills training necessary for American communities to be the desired home for more businesses. The Make it in America Challenge builds on the administration’s efforts to encourage companies—large and small, foreign and domestic, manufacturers and services firms—to increase investment in the United States.

Acting Secretary Blank also highlighted two ongoing efforts by the Department of Commerce to attract foreign direct investment. SelectUSA, a program the president launched last year, continues to showcase the United States as the world’s premier business location and to provide easy access to federal-level programs and services related to business investment. Also, Commerce’s Commercial Services officers have been trained to help foreign investors who want information about how to invest in the U.S and who want to link up with local and state economic development leaders to create jobs in America.