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Two Years after Sandy Landfall, Commerce Continues to Help Affected Communities


Two Years after Sandy Landfall, Commerce Continues to Help Affected CommunitiesIn the two years since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, the Department of Commerce, through its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Economic Development Administration (EDA), Census Bureau, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has been working to help communities recover and enhance resiliency in the face of future storms.

Hours after the storm hit, NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey began aerial survey missions to assess storm damage. In total, 1649 miles of coastline were documented. The photos taken on these missions provided emergency and coastal managers with the information they needed to develop recovery strategies, facilitate search-and-rescue efforts, identify hazards to navigation and HAZMAT spills, locate errant vessels, and provide documentation home and business owners needed to assess damages to property. To date, FEMA has used the NOAA-supplied photos, as well as those from the Civil Air Patrol, to determine damage to 35,000 homes.

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EDA Announces $1.9 Million Grant to Support Advanced Manufacturing in Recognition of Manufacturing Day


EDA Announces $1.9 Million Grant to Support Advanced Manufacturing in Recognition of Manufacturing Day When I was growing up, manufacturing work was all about having a strong back and a strong work ethic. These days, manufacturing has changed. The first Friday in October each year marks Manufacturing Day, and today more than 1,500 manufacturers nationwide are opening their doors to host open houses, public tours, career workshops, and other events, in order to show people what manufacturing is – and what it isn’t. There is a lack of understanding of present-day manufacturing environments, which are highly technical. Manufacturing Day provides manufacturers with the opportunity to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. 

In honor of Manufacturing Day, I was joined by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and faculty members for an event at Wichita State University (WSU) in South Kansas. The region is a leader in manufacturing, and the University is a key member of the South Kansas Manufacturing Community consortium, which U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced as one of the 12 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designated communities in May. While there, I announced a $1.9 million EDA grant to WSU to support advanced manufacturing.

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Success Story: NEXCAP - Manufacturing’s Matchmakers


Screenshot of NEXCAP website If you build it, they will come. But what if it’s built and no one knows it? In the United States, there are hundreds of millions of square feet of nonproductive commercial, industrial, and manufacturing space. This space provides an opportunity for domestic companies to find manufacturing spaces as well as foreign companies looking to locate operations in the United States. However, information about this space can be incomplete and scattered. That’s where NEXCAP comes in.

With funding from EDA, the  National Excess Manufacturing Capacity Catalog (NEXCAP) is uniquely and comprehensively cataloging these vacant manufacturing facilities, their assets, and those of the surrounding community. The searchable catalog offers companies seeking manufacturing production sites/facilities in the U.S. a complete and detailed overview of potential manufacturing sites. NEXCAP's site inventory and portal is populated with detailed profiles of the facilities and their host communities. It provides companies seeking locations with a toolkit of information to guide their business location and/or expansion decisions. This benefits the communities with properties by attracting investment and new, job creating industries.

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Guest Column: Next-shoring: A CEO’s guide


Katy George, Director, McKinsey The importance of manufacturing to the American economy is undeniable. Economic development is crucial to supporting manufacturing communities (and vice versa), and the work many of you do to build infrastructure or develop the local workforce is contributing to the growth of manufacturing across the country. But manufacturing is changing, and its future looks nothing like its history. Rather than focus on offshoring or even “reshoring”—a term used to describe the return of manufacturing to developed markets as wages rise in emerging ones—today’s manufacturing strategies need to concentrate on what’s coming next. The synopsis below is adapted from “Next-shoring: A CEO’s guide,” an essay I wrote with Sree Ramaswamy and Lou Raseey for the McKinsey Quarterly, January 2014. Please visit for a full collection of content on the future of manufacturing. – Katy George

Katy George is a director in McKinsey’s New Jersey office; Sree Ramaswamy is a fellow of the McKinsey Global Institute and is based in the Washington, DC, office; and Lou Rassey is a principal in the Chicago office.

Evolving demand from new markets places a premium on the ability to adapt products to different regions. Meanwhile, emerging technologies that could disrupt costs and processes are making new supply ecosystems a differentiator. Accordingly, a next-shoring perspective emphasizes two forms of proximity: to demand and to innovation.

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Highlight: EDA’s FY2014 Manufacturing Footprint


DAS Erskine and representatives from the Devens, Massachusetts Community at a grant announcement to improve road access for local manufacturing Manufacturing built many parts of this country. It created hundreds of jobs and enabled the birth of the middle class. But over the years, some manufacturing communities have seen decline due to outsourcing or changes in the market. Yet, through the fluctuations and changes, the sense of pride in American manufacturing hasn’t diminished. Today, manufacturing is experiencing a renaissance in the United States. Companies are bringing operations back to the U.S., entrepreneurs are bringing new products to market, and the industry is evolving to and adapting to new technologies. Manufacturing is creating jobs – jobs that are high-paying. But, it’s also helping the economy. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector generates $1.32 for the U.S. economy. EDA understands the crucial importance of manufacturing to the economic recovery and to future economic growth.

In FY2014, EDA invested in 89 manufacturing projects, totaling nearly $78 million. The projects were diverse, representing different industries, different geographies, and different community needs – much like manufacturing itself. EDA supported these projects in a number of different ways.

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Manufacturing: Rebuilding America’s Economy


Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Jay Williams Last week, I was honored to participate in Partnering for Illinois’ Economic Future Second Annual Economic Summit hosted by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) in Rock Island, Illinois. This summit is the highlight of an initiative the Congresswoman launched in 2013 to foster economic collaboration in the 17th Congressional District of Illinois, and my keynote focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the American manufacturing sector, how we can prepare for success in the global economy, and what is being done at the federal level to help regions succeed.

Manufacturing matters:

  • Manufacturing supports 17.4 million U.S. jobs.
  • Manufacturing career opportunities include engineers, designers, machinists, and computer programmers.
  • The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000, which is approximately 17 percent more than similar workers employed in other sectors.
  • For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector creates $1.32 for the U.S. economy.
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You Don’t Have to Start a Business to Think Like an Entrepreneur


Photo of Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary for Economic Development One of my favorite things about my time as Mayor of Youngstown was having the opportunity to go out and speak to students in local schools. I found myself inspired and energized by their enthusiasm and idealism. It’s so easy to get cynical in this world, but young people tend to be optimistic about the future, and it’s nice to be reminded that there are infinite possibilities for all of us – even those of us who have been out in the world for a while.

I have had the opportunity to speak to many different audiences in my previous role as the executive director of the auto recovery office and recently as Assistant Secretary. But last week, I got to get back to what I love when Montgomery College invited me to address its Business and Economics majors.

I was humbled by the turnout – in a room that had more than 75 seats, there was standing room only. Most of the students in attendance were minorities or immigrants, and it was very meaningful to me to be able to address such a group as an official of the Obama Administration.

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Highlight: When It Comes to Innovation, Size Does NOT Matter


Assistant Secretary Williams and DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill participate in roundtable discussion with Arkansas entrepreneurs at the AR Innovation Hub There is a perception that innovation and entrepreneurship happen on the coasts while the rest of the country gets left behind. Yes, there are many places in America where the airports are so small you have to travel by puddle jumper to get there, and there is not a proliferation of a certain ubiquitous coffee shop on every block. But when it comes to innovation, size doesn’t matter. Small towns and cities across the country are doing some truly amazing things to support their innovators and entrepreneurs. Recently, Assistant Secretary Jay Williams and DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill traveled to Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas to meet with local entrepreneurs at the incubators and training facilities that support them to see what innovation looks like with a touch of Southern hospitality.

After arriving in Memphis, Assistant Secretary Williams and Chairman Masingill met with several entrepreneurs at Memphis Bioworks, an organization that seeks to create companies, jobs, and investments in bioscience. Some of the solutions presented by companies are brilliant in their simplicity.

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Spotlight: EDA Participates in High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) with Mexico


Deputy Assistant Secretaries Matt Erskine and Tom Guevara participate in the Bi-National Workshop for Regional Economic Development Strategies and Innovation Ecosystems in Mexico. Economies don’t fit into neat borders of cities, counties, or states. Along the U.S.-Mexico border, they don’t always fit neatly into countries either. There are roughly 2,000 miles of shared border between Mexico and the United States that create a dynamic commercial relationship that generates more than $500 billion in two-way trade and supports millions of jobs in both countries.

Recognizing this, in May 2013, President Obama and President Peña Nieto announced the formation of the High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) to promote economic growth in both countries, create jobs for citizens on both sides of the border, and ensure that the United States and Mexico could compete globally. The first HLED was launched in September 2013, which developed a work plan based on the pillars of promoting competitiveness and connectivity; fostering economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship, and innovation; and partnering for regional and global leadership.

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Success Story: Workforce Training is Not One Size Fits All


Officials cut the ribbon to open Tec Centro in Lancaster, Pa. Ensuring employers have a well-trained workforce with the skills employers need is key to economic growth. But it’s impossible to learn a skill if you don’t understand the instruction being given or if there are cultural barriers to the training. Culturally appropriate workforce training is crucial to ensuring a properly trained workforce in many parts of the country, and EDA has supported projects to provide that training in areas ranging from Pennsylvania to California.

In 2011, EDA announced a $1.3 million grant in Lancaster, PA to the Spanish American Civic Association (SACA) and the SACA Development Corporation of Lancaster to help renovate a vacant facility for use as the state-of-the-art Bilingual Technology Training Center. The center would extend bilingual and remedial training opportunities to prepare low-income minority clients for high-demand growth jobs in the Lancaster region

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