PROVIDENCE, RI -- In an effort to help Rhode Island attract and expand manufacturing opportunities, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today hosted a meeting at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus with a diverse group of business leaders, researchers, economic development organizations, and other stakeholders to discuss the “Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership” (IMCP).  Nearly 100 Rhode Islanders from the manufacturing and business community turned out to meet with representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce and other federal and state officials to discuss the IMCP, a new Obama Administration initiative designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs in cities across the country. 

The Administration is planning to award federal IMCP strategy grants this year to up to 25 communities around the country, worth up to $200,000 each, to help them develop long-term economic development strategies intended to create a business environment that leads to well-paying, sustainable manufacturing jobs. 

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) is collaborating with manufacturers, universities, and local partners on a proposal to create a Design and Manufacturing Center in Rhode Island.  The Center would provide critical support services, such as work force training, assistance with research and development, and product development, to local manufacturers

“This is an exciting opportunity to attract key resources, jobs, and business to Rhode Island,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.  “I am proud to support the state’s efforts and pleased officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce are here in Rhode Island to talk directly with local leaders and members of the manufacturing community about the challenges and opportunities ahead.  Rhode Island is home to some of the world’s greatest minds in research and design and I hope the Obama Administration will choose our state for one of these grants.”

“Manufacturing has been at the center of our Rhode Island economy since we helped jumpstart the industrial revolution with Slater Mill,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “Today’s event reinforced the Obama Administration’s commitment to helping us revive our state’s manufacturing sector, which has been struggling to compete in the new global economy.  I look forward to continuing to work with manufacturing businesses in our state to make sure they have the support they need to thrive and create jobs.”

“We must incentivize manufacturers to set up shop in Rhode Island and encourage our young people to pursue training opportunities that will make our state’s skilled workforce attractive to new and growing companies,” said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. “Manufacturing was once the backbone of the Rhode Island economy, and I believe that if we make smart investments in infrastructure and workforce development, a renaissance of this critical sector is within our reach.”

“One key part of rebuilding RI’s economy is to focus on manufacturing and understanding the importance of making things here in Rhode Island and in this country,” said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. “Today’s Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership meeting is an important step, and I look forward to working with President Obama and our entire Congressional delegation to reinvigorate Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector.”

The delegation invited the U.S. Department of Commerce to visit Rhode Island and provide more information about the IMCP and other initiatives to promote jobs, manufacturing, and economic development.  Today’s listening session is designed to ensure local manufacturers, business stakeholders, and the federal government are effectively working together to support manufacturing in Rhode Island.

After the first phase of IMCP grants are awarded, the U.S. Department of Commerce will begin a second round of competition, awarding up to six IMCP “Challenge” grants, expected to be worth up to $25 million each.  Such investments will support the implementation of community strategies for attracting, retaining, and expanding private investment in the manufacturing sector and increasing international trade and exports.