The Obama Administration announced a $26 million multi-agency Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to foster innovation-fueled job creation through public-private partnerships. These coordinated investments will help catalyze and leverage private capital, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and promote cluster-based development in regions across the United States. This is the third round of the Jobs Accelerator competition, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; the Small Business Administration; and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Advanced manufacturing is critical to the health of the national economy and provides essential goods and equipment directly to consumers as well as to a wide range of industries, including the energy production, agriculture, medical and computing industries, and the security and intelligence sectors.
Manufacturing accounts for 70 percent of private-sector R&D and 60 percent of U.S. exports–including a record $1.2 trillion in goods exported in 2011. Over the past 25 months, manufacturers have created nearly half a million jobs–the best streak since 1995. The Jobs Accelerator Challenge is designed to assist the development and implementation of regionally driven economic development strategies that will support advanced manufacturing and cluster development. The goal is to create jobs, grow the economy, and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers in the global marketplace.
Approximately 12 projects are expected to be chosen through a competitive inter-agency grant process. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that will help grow a region’s industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets; enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs; develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce; increase exports; encourage the development of small businesses; and accelerate technological innovation.
The deadline for applications is July 9, 2012, and guidelines for submissions are accessible at www.manufacturing.g ov/. In addition to the six funding partners, the initiative is supported by eight other Federal agencies: U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Housing and Urban Development; Environmental Protection Agency; Denali Commission; and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA), and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
As part of President Obama’s commitment to putting more people back to work and creating an economy built to last, the Administration has invested over $200 million promoting regional innovation clusters.