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Northwest Georgia Region and Tennessee Valley Recognized as Promising Manufacturing Communities in National IMCP Competition

May 2014


WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014—U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the first 12 communities that will be designated "Manufacturing Communities" as part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative. The Northwest Georgia region and the Tennessee Valley were two of the communities designated.

The U.S. Department of Commerce–led program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission (NWGRC) had submitted a proposal for the Northwest Georgia region that would allow the local carpet and flooring industry to reinvent itself, bringing together the local government, the private sector, and community colleges to create a network of partners that would attract and encourage renewed manufacturing.

The Tennessee Valley initiative proposed by the University of Tennessee will accelerate the development of a strong and growing automotive cluster through an experienced collaborative including the university, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the State of Tennessee, as well as private-sector groups and organizations.

The Appalachian Regional Commission has been a strong institutional voice among federal agencies to ensure that the Appalachian areas represented by the University of Tennessee, the NWGRC, and other applicants were considered equally with urban areas for national recognition.

"The 12 Manufacturing Communities announced today represent a diverse group of communities with the most comprehensive economic development plans to attract business investment that will increase their competitiveness," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "IMCP is a critical part of our 'Open for Business Agenda' to strengthen the American manufacturing sector and attract more investment to the United States. Innovative programs like IMCP encourage American communities to work together to craft strong, clear, strategic plans to attract manufacturing investment and jobs to transform themselves into globally competitive commercial hubs."

"IMCP is one of the main programs at the center of the administration's efforts to support job creation and accelerate manufacturing growth to make our communities more globally competitive," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. "These 12 Manufacturing Communities are diverse, public-private consortiums that have put in place best-practice economic development strategies that can be replicated by other American communities—including all those who applied for the IMCP designation."

Of the 70 communities that applied for the designation, the following 12 were selected by an interagency panel based on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential for impact in their communities, and the depth of their partnerships across the public and private sectors to carry out their plans:

  • Southwest Alabama, led by the University of South Alabama;
  • Southern California, led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development;
  • Northwest Georgia, led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission;
  • The Chicago metro region, led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development;
  • South Kansas, led by Wichita State University;
  • Greater Portland region in Maine, led by the Greater Portland Council of Governments;
  • Southeastern Michigan, led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine;
  • The New York Finger Lakes region, led by the City of Rochester;
  • Southwestern Ohio aerospace region, led by the City of Cincinnati;
  • The Tennessee Valley, led by the University of Tennessee;
  • The Washington Puget Sound region, led by the Puget Sound Regional Council; and
  • The Milwaukee 7 region, led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee.

The communities will receive coordinated support for their strategies from the following 11 federal agencies, with $1.3 billion available in federal economic development assistance:

  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Science Foundation
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
The communities will have a dedicated federal liaison at each of these agencies who will help them navigate available federal resources. They will also be recognized on a government Web site accessible to prospective private foreign and domestic investors who are looking for information on communities' competitive attributes.

In order to earn the designation, communities had to demonstrate the significance of manufacturing already present in their region and develop strategies to make investments in six areas: 1) workforce and training, 2) advanced research, 3) infrastructure and site development, 4) supply-chain support, 5) trade and international investment, and 6) operational improvement and capital access.

In September 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and other agencies awarded $7 million in IMCP grants to 44 communities to support the development of long-term economic development strategies to help them attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports. The Obama administration officially launched the national IMCP competition in December 2013. Later this year, the administration plans to launch a second IMCP competition to designate additional communities, and to convene the 70 communities that applied for designation to share best practices in economic development planning.

More information on the IMCP is available on the Economic Development Administration Web site at