U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – co-founder of the Senate Competitiveness Caucus – yesterday voted to advance the Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act (S. 701) through the Senate Commerce Committee. Sen. Moran last month joined a bipartisan group of members of Congress to introduce this legislation, which would help create more good-paying manufacturing jobs in Kansas communities and across the nation.
“Kansas manufacturers play a crucial role in our state’s success,” said Sen. Moran. “Manufacturing drives innovation, provides good-paying jobs and yields quality products that are in demand at home and internationally. Furthermore, public-private partnerships are important for the ability to compete on a national and global scale. I am proud to support this legislation to allow Kansas communities to grow their manufacturing capabilities and foster steady careers for future generations of Kansans.”
The Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act would codify into law the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), a successful program that is administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and allows communities around the country to compete to receive preferential consideration for federal economic development funds. Under the legislation, communities would bring together at least one institution of higher education, one private sector entity, and one government entity, as well as other key stakeholders, to apply for a “manufacturing community” designation. This designation will give the community additional consideration when applying for economic development assistance from participating federal agencies.
S. 701 encourages a regionally-driven approach to strengthening the manufacturing industry. In order to earn the “manufacturing community” designation, communities must demonstrate the significance of manufacturing in their region and develop strategies to utilize their “manufacturing community” designation by making investments in six areas:
· Workforce training and retraining;· Advanced research;· Infrastructure and site development;· Supply chain support;· Promotion of exports and foreign direct investment; and· Operational improvement and capital access.
The “South Kansas Manufacturing Community,” comprised of 27 counties in south-central and southeast Kansas, is one of 24 communities nationwide that benefitted from targeted investment to spur competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. This effort was led by Wichita State University in conjunction with area manufacturers. The program’s future is uncertain without this authorizing legislation, and this bipartisan bill would make certain the South Kansas Manufacturing Community – and other potential locales around the state – can continue to revitalize its manufacturing sector, remain competitive throughout the 20th century, and support Kansans with good-paying jobs.
S. 701 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and is sponsored by Sens. Moran, Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The full text of S. 701 is available here.