Collins, King Introduce Legislation to Support the Creation of Good-Paying Manufacturing Jobs in Maine

Bill reauthorizes the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) which offers federal resources to help rejuvenate manufacturing sector

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King have joined a bipartisan group of members from the House of Representatives and the Senate in introducing the Make It In America Manufacturing Communities Act, legislation that would help revitalize the country’s manufacturing sector, stimulate rural economic development, and help support the creation of good-paying manufacturing jobs.

 

The bipartisan Make it in America Manufacturing Communities Act would codify into law a successful program, the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), started by the Obama Administration, which allows communities around the country to compete to receive preferential consideration for federal economic development funds across multiple federal agencies. Twenty-four communities around the country – including the Greater Portland region – have already been designated “Manufacturing Communities” and have received targeted investment and support to make their regions more competitive. The program’s future is uncertain without authorizing legislation, but this bipartisan bill would make it permanent so that more communities around the country can compete for this designation, including regions in the process of redeveloping closed industrial sites.

 

“Maine’s manufacturing industry is an integral part of our economy and has long been a source of pride as well as quality, good-paying jobs,” said Senator Collins.  “The IMCP program has already demonstrated its success by bolstering Maine’s manufacturing sector in the Greater Portland area.  This legislation will expand this valuable program so that more communities in Maine and across the country will have the opportunity to attract investments, increase innovation, and create jobs.”

 

            “Maine has a strong manufacturing tradition, which has helped drive economic prosperity and create good-paying jobs for people across our state,” Senator King said. “Supporting growth in the manufacturing sector will require forging new relationships, increasing collaboration among public and private sectors, and prioritizing innovation – all of which the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership does. This legislation will help give existing IMCP communities, like the Greater Portland region, a competitive advantage when it comes to federal economic development funds and make the program permanent so that more communities across Maine can work towards the designation, strengthen economic diversification and growth, and help spur job creation.”

 

This legislation encourages a regionally-driven approach to strengthening the manufacturing industry. To compete for funding through this program and earn the “Manufacturing Communities” designation, communities would create regional partnerships with key stakeholders such as local and state economic development officials, local governments, manufacturers, labor organizations, and higher education or other training providers.

 

In May 2014, Senators Collins and King announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce had designated the Greater Portland region as one of the first 12 designated “Manufacturing Communities” nationwide IMCP.

 

In order to earn the Manufacturing Communities designation, communities would demonstrate the significance of manufacturing in their region and develop strategies to utilize their “Manufacturing Communities” designation in making investments in six areas: 1) Workforce training and retraining; 2) Advanced research; 3) Infrastructure and site development; 4) Supply chain support; 5) Promotion of exports and foreign direct investment; and 6) Operational improvement and capital access for manufacturers that supports energy or process efficiency, equipment or facility upgrades, the development of business incubators, among other activities.