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Frequently Asked Questions for the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Designation for Manufacturing Communities

(Updated 3/4/2014)

In December 2013, the Obama Administration launched a national competition to designate “manufacturing communities.” The Federal Register notice announcing the competition was issued by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.  The designation offers up to 12 selected communities preferential consideration for up to $1.3 billion in federal dollars and assistance from 10 federal agencies. The Federal Register notice lists the nine agencies offering the preferential consideration for grant funding.  One additional agency is offering technical assistance and is expected to provide preferential consideration for funding in the near future.

The deadline to apply is April 14, 2014. Decisions will be made later in 2014.

What is the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership?

The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) is an Obama Administration initiative that will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in regions across the country. The IMCP will reward communities that best highlight their strengths and demonstrate they can combine their efforts around workforce training, infrastructure and research centers to implement an economic development plan that will attract, retain and expand manufacturing investment.

By combining many of the elements companies seek when deciding where to locate their firms, this approach will help communities capitalize on the industrial growth taking place nationwide due to the United States’ competitive advantages in areas like energy, worker productivity, and intellectual property protection.

IMCP is led by the Department of Commerce and is an important part of the Department’s Open for Business agenda which prioritizes trade and investment.

Through IMCP, thirteen agencies are working together to coordinate how the federal government supports manufacturing regions.

What are the 13 participating agencies?

IMCP Participating Agencies will coordinate with each other to align complementary activities while also preventing duplication of efforts.

The participating agencies are:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration
  • Department of Commerce, NIST/MEP
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
  • Department of Transportation
  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Science Foundation
  • Small Business Administration

Is this the first time the federal government is announcing the IMCP?

The IMCP has several components:

  • IMCP was launched earlier in 2013 with a series of regional roundtables hosted by several federal agencies to help raise the awareness of funding opportunities available in manufacturing as well as to seek bottom-up input from local communities on the upcoming phases of the initiative. 
  • Additionally, $7 million was awarded to 44 communities in September of 2013 from the Economic Development Administration and other agencies for IMCP implementation strategy grants 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.
  • In December 2013, the Administration launched a national competition led by the Department of Commerce to designate “manufacturing communities.” This designation offers up to 12 selected communities preferential consideration for up to $1.3 billion in federal dollars and assistance from 10 federal agencies.

Will the applicants for the Manufacturing Community” designations be limited to the pool of communities that were involved in the fiscal year 2013 planning grant competition?

No.  Any community may compete for designation as a consortium that includes at least one or more of these eligible organizations:

  • Regional economic development district organization
  • Indian tribe
  • state, county, city or local government engaged in economic infrastructure development activities
  • institutions of higher education
  • public or private non-profit organizations or associations acting in cooperation with local government officials

In order to earn the designation, communities must present strategies that identify technologies or industries in which they would be competitive in the future and in which they would make investments in the following areas:

  • workforce and training
  • advanced research
  • infrastructure and site development
  • supply chain support
  • trade and international investment
  • operational improvement and capital access

How does a community earn the designation?

In order to earn the designation, communities must demonstrate the significance of manufacturing already present in their communities and develop strategies to make investments in the following areas:

  • workforce and training
  • advanced research
  • infrastructure and site development
  • supply chain support
  • trade and international investment
  • operational improvement and capital access

Will EDA funding be guaranteed to each designated manufacturing community?

This is not a grant competition.  Rather, designated manufacturing communities will receive:

  • Preferential consideration in federal competitions and assistance across 10 agencies, totaling $1.3 billion
  • A dedicated federal liaison at each of these agencies that will help the designated manufacturing communities navigate available federal resources
  • Recognition on a government website, accessible to prospective private foreign and domestic investors, looking for information on communities’ competitive attributes

Subject to funding availability, challenge grants may become available to some awardees from the pool of designated manufacturing communities from EDA and other agencies.

Which nine agencies are currently offering the preferential consideration for funding?

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
  • Department of Transportation
  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Delta Regional Authority
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Science Foundation
  • Small Business Administration

One additional agency is expected to offer preferential consideration in the near future.

What kind of help will designated communities receive and how much funding will be made available to them?

The selected manufacturing communities will receive:

  • Preferential consideration in federal competitions and assistance across 10 agencies, totaling $1.3 billion.
  • A dedicated federal liaison at each of these agencies that will help the designated manufacturing communities navigate available federal resources
  • Recognition on a government website, accessible to prospective private foreign and domestic investors, looking for information on communities’ competitive attributes.
  • Subject to funding availability, challenge grants may become available to some awardees from the pool of designated manufacturing communities from EDA and other agencies.

Do I have to have a local match to compete for the designation?

No.  This is not a grant competition.

How do you define “preferential consideration”?

Preferential consideration (or supplemental awards for existing grantees) will be available for funding streams identified by the IMCP Participating Agencies as furthering IMCP goals and thereby assisting Manufacturing Communities in bolstering their economic development plans. Please refer to the Federal Register notice to see the list of participating agencies and the preferential consideration they each are making available.  Manufacturing Communities will only receive preference when applying for grants and projects consistent with the community’s economic development strategy.

Are there any resources available to communities that do not win or apply?

Yes, as part of IMCP, there are several online resources that any community may access, including:

  • A data portal centralizing data available across agencies to enable communities to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • A “playbook” that identifies existing Federal planning grant and technical assistance resources and catalogues best practices in economic development.

These resources are available through www.eda.gov/challenges/imcp/.

What is the deadline to apply?

March 14, 2014.  Please see the Federal Register notice for details on what to include in your application and for additional submission information.

Applications can be submitted in three ways:

  • By email: IMCP@eda.gov.  Please indicate “Proposals for designation as a Manufacturing Community” in the Subject line.
  • By fax: (202) 482-2838, Attention: Office of Performance and National Programs.   Please indicate “Proposals for designation as a Manufacturing Community” on the Cover Sheet.
  • By mail: Economic Development Administration, Office of Performance and National Programs U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue N.W., Suite 71030 Washington, DC 20230. Please indicate “Proposals for designation as a Manufacturing Community” and Docket No. 131121981-3981 on the envelope.

Who do I contact with questions?

Ryan Hedgepeth, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue N.W., Suite 78006, Washington, DC 20230 or via email at rhedgepeth@eda.gov.  Only emails sent to this address will receive a response.


IMCP Q&As for Top-Third Requirement

How can a community provide evidence that it ranks in the top third in the nation for their key manufacturing technology or supply chain (KTS)?

The purpose of a top-third ranking requirement for a community’s KTS is to ensure that regions are building on existing strengths (rather than starting from scratch). Thus, we encourage applicants to provide as much evidence as possible that points to the importance and growth of their KTS compared to other similar regions and the nation. This enables reviewers to better understand the strength and growth of your community’s KTS and assess whether it is a national leader. Communities may measure their top-third status either by using the absolute scale of activity (such as employment or sales) in their KTS, or by using location quotients (LQs).

The following sections offer guidance that may be of use to applicants. While communities may find this material helpful for demonstrating that the community ranks in the top-third nationally in their KTS, it is not required that applicants use the data we offer. However, applicants that choose not to use the guidance below should provide clear details on data and methods used to demonstrate that your community ranks in the top-third in your defined region and KTS.

Information and guidance on LQs and top-third rankings

Location quotients (LQ) compare an area's business composition to that of a larger area (i.e., nation or a state). Economic development opportunities may exist for additional growth of the exporting or related industries because of the presence of an existing skilled labor pool or other resources such as suppliers, facilities or transportation hubs in the region.

The LQ is a measure of an industry's level of concentration within a location compared to a larger region, with an LQ greater than 1 (LQ>1) indicating a higher than average concentration in that location. An LQ greater than 1 indicates that an area has proportionately more workers or firms than the larger comparison area in a specific industry sector.

Calculating a LQ for employment is based on the following formula:

Location Quotient equation: LQ equals (Region's Industry Employment / Region's Total Employment) / (U.S. Industry Employment / U.S. Total Employment)

For LQs based on firms, use the number of establishments in that particular KTS rather than number of employees.

The following is an example of how applicants would calculate an LQ for a 4-county region that had employment in Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing (NAICS = 3254). Note that this same method can be applied to one or more counties. The example uses hypothetical data for the 4 county region and actual national data for Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing using the 2011 County Business Patterns data (http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/):

4 county Region’s Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing = 600 employees

4 county Region’s Total Employment = 250,000 employees

Nation’s Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing = 227,894 employees

Nation’s Total Employment = 113,425,965

Then, the LQ based on employment would be:

(600/250,000)/( 227,894/113,425,965) = 0.002400/.002009 = 1.19

From this example, the applicant’s LQ is 1.19.

To determine if their community is ranked in the top-third nationally, use the linked table that provides manufacturing employment and establishment LQ cutoff numbers for states. That is, the numbers in the table provide the LQ for each 4-digit NAICS manufacturing industry for the 17th-ranked state (including the District of Columbia) (Table: Top-Third Ranked Location Quotients for Establishments and Employment by 4-digit Manufacturing NAICS Codes (xls)).

Following the example given above and referring to the table, the LQ for the top third in employment in Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing is 1.05. Therefore, this region, with an LQ of 1.19, has demonstrated its eligibility to be considered for IMCP funding based on LQ. Also, for simplicity, even those communities whose regional boundaries do not conform to state borders can compare themselves to the state LQ rankings in the table provided.