The Obama administration announced Tuesday that $20.5 million for Make it in America Challenge grants to spur business investment and job creation will fund 10 projects, including two in Ohio, for worker training, domestic and foreign business investment and supply chain access.
Among the10 winners of the Make it in America Challenge, an Obama administration initiative to accelerate job creation and encourage business investment in the United States, two lead recipients—the N.E.O. Foundation of Cleveland and Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District of Reno—have been awarded $1,796,867 and $1,700,844, respectively.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny S. Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Christopher A. Masingill said the grants will support regional economic development, advanced skills training, greater supply chain access and other enhancements, according to DOL.
The programs are designed to encourage U.S. companies to keep, expand or reshore their manufacturing operations—and jobs—in America, and to entice foreign companies to build facilities and make their products here.
Also providing funding are The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, and the Delta Regional Authority.
"Making smart investments in a skilled workforce are critical to continuing our recovery and unleashing the economy's full potential," said Secretary of Labor Perez. "In an increasingly sophisticated economy, equipping workers with the skills they need to succeed on the job isn't just a workforce development issue, but also an economic development issue and the partnerships funded through these Make it in America Challenge grants are helping to lead the way."
"Supporting innovative, regionally-based strategies that create an environment that encourages businesses to invest in the U.S. is vital to enhancing our nation's global competitiveness," said Secretary of Commerce Pritzker. "These Make It In America Challenge grants reward promising ideas that will advance the Obama administration's goals of improving our economy by strengthening our manufacturing sector and making our country a more attractive place to do business."
The 10 winners of the Make it in America Challenge will pursue projects in nine states.
- The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority of Brunswick, Maine ($2,050,000)
- The Center for Automotive Research of Ann Arbor, Mich. ($1,471,800)
- The Mississippi State University of Starkville, Miss. ($1,931,935)
- The Board of Curators at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. ($1,842,977)
- N.E.O. Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio ($1,796,867)
- The Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District of Reno, Ohio ($1,700,844)
- The Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments of Salem, Ore. ($1,714,376)
- The SEDA Council of Governments of Lewisburg, Pa. ($1,800,000)
- Clemson University of Clemson, S.C.: 2 projects (construction and non-construction) ($3,549,610)
- The Innovate Washington of Spokane, Wash. ($2,675,000)
Ohio grant descriptions:
N.E.O. Foundation of Cleveland
$1,796,867 ($499,954 EDA, $1,296,913 DOL-ETA)
These grants will help identify up to twenty-five firms with the potential to attract foreign investment from the bio-medical, automotive, and advanced energy sectors in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Lorain, and Youngstown. The project also provides specialized and individualized technical assistance to those firms and will support workforce hiring and training in advanced materials development. In addition to identifying workforce needs of the clusters, recruiting and training talent, the project will provide better access to career pathways for the regional concentration of engineers and technicians.
In 2011, the state of Ohio selected Team NEO as the JobsOhio network partner for Northeast Ohio. Ohio has identified a network of six partners across the state to act as regional partners for JobsOhio, the state's agency for job creation and economic development. As the JobsOhio regional partner for Northeast Ohio, Team NEO collaborates with the region's 18 county partners to expand and retain existing business and job growth.
Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District of Reno
$1,700,844 ($400,888 EDA, $1,299,956 DOL-ETA)
These grants will help identify, research and document attributes of up to 1,000 development sites in the region, make the findings available online, and create a GIS database and maps spotlighting characteristics of those sites and of regional economic and workforce development assets to draw the attention of developers and site selectors. The project also includes workforce training focused on targeted industries including metal fabrication, polymers and chemicals, and wood furniture manufacturing. The project’s plan is based on an incumbent worker training model that fosters increased productivity, wage gains, and transferable skills for the region’s targeted industries.
The Make it in America Challenge was issued on March 18, 2013, according to the White House, which said federal agencies are collaborating more effectively to make smart investments that provide stakeholders with a seamless process for applying for federal resources.
The intension of funded projects is to help distressed regions build on existing assets, promote a competitive environment for foreign-owned and domestic firms to establish and grow their U.S. operations, create jobs and develop a skilled workforce for specific industries.
"The Make it in America Challenge builds on the United States' significant competitive advantages—from a strong business climate, to a highly-skilled and productive workforce—that make it a profitable place for businesses to invest.
"Investing in businesses and production here can help put more Americans back to work," today's release said. "Some of the ways in which the administration has already helped American workers and businesses thrive include: enhancing the general business climate, securing access to markets for U.S. exports, providing financial and technical support for companies to grow and expand, providing funding to improve education and training opportunities to develop a skilled workforce, and enforcing global trade rules to ensure that American businesses and workers are competing on a level playing field."
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