Milwaukee hoping to become manufacturing hub

Milwaukee is hoping to receive federal grants that would help finance manufacturing projects.

Milwaukee is in the process of applying for federal grants that are designed to promote manufacturing throughout the country. The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) will be awarding grants totaling $1.3 billion to 12 cities, according to the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Under the IMCP, which was launched in December 2013, 10 federal agencies will be awarding grants to 12 cities they deem "manufacturing communities." The goal of IMCP is to help revitalize the manufacturing industry throughout the country, according to the EDA.

"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," the organization said in a statement.

Some of the federal agencies that will be participating in the program include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Hoping to make second round of cuts
Milwaukee is expecting to be selected as one of the 12 cities that will take part in IMCP's Phase 2. The city missed a preliminary selection when the program started in 2013, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The first phase of the program awarded $200,000 to 40 cities to assist them in making presentations for Phase 2. Alan Perlstein, director of the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, told the Journal Sentinel Milwaukee was not included in Phase 1 because of the plan's "lack of focus."

Needed economic push
Being included in Phase 2 would do wonders for Milwaukee's economy. Across U.S. metro areas with at least half a million non-farm jobs, Milwaukee ranks second in share of workforce in the manufacturing industry, according to the Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement the city is perfect for this program.

"If any city deserves this designation, Milwaukee does," Barrett said. "We are a center of manufacturing. It's in our DNA."

Even if Milwaukee is selected as part of Phase 2, it will not automatically receive funding, according to Barrett Spokesman Jeff Fleming. The 12 cities will receive preferential consideration for future grants.

Businesses in the manufacturing industry who need help finding capable and experienced workers to help them meet the demands can look to operations recruiters to assist them in their search.

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