Will New York City Become a Federally Designated Manufacturing Community?

August 12, 2016
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Albany-born US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand toured New York advanced manufacturing hubs to promote federal legislation that would continue President Obama’s official designation of Manufacturing Communities. Her tour included two NYC destinations in Boyce Technologies (pictured here) and Manufacture New York. Credit: Boycetechinc instagram

Earlier this week, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Long Island City’s Boyce Technologies and Sunset Park’s Manufacture New York to promote manufacturing legislation. If passed, her Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act of 2016 will allow suburban and urban regions to apply for official manufacturing designation. With $1.3 billion in federal economic development funding for manufacturing, earning the Manufacturing Community title will help funding applicants, essentially, move to the front of the line.

Gillibrand’s bill, and a mirror act in the House pushed by Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, build on President Obama’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. Over the past two years, 24 regions (full list here) earned Manufacturing Community status and federal funds. Currently, New York’s only designation is the Finger Lakes, led by Rochester, but we’re hoping that NYC stakeholders are able to pull together an application in the near future.

New York City fits the criteria for a Manufacturing Community, and with sector jobs on the rise and a flourishing advanced manufacturing ecosystem, funds would be put to good use. Here’s the Manufacturing Community description in detail: “A region that is large enough to contain critical elements of the key technologies or supply chain … and small enough to enable close collaboration among the consortium’s members; include at least one higher education institution, a private sector and government entity; and have a lead applicant that is a district organization, Indian tribe, state or political subdivision of a state, higher ed institution, nonprofit organization or association cooperating with a political subdivision of a state.”

Federal grants for manufacturing communities focus on training workers, advanced research, infrastructure and site development, supply chain support, promotion of exports, operational improvement and capital access for energy and process efficiency, equipment upgrades, the development of business incubators and more.

“Manufacturing is the backbone of the innovation economy, giving creatives and technologists the tools to commercialize their ideas and create new startups that fuel job growth in our NY metropolitan region and across the country,” says Manufacture New York CEO Bob Bland. Bland tells us that “the intention is absolutely for Brooklyn (and ideally the entire NY metro area) to apply together to be designated a regional community.” She’ll start convening meetings in the fall as the bill goes through Congress’s approval process. We’ll keep you updated on the legislation and how you can get involved. Read the act here.