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Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) pushes Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act

By Kristopher Fraser

Aug 10, 2016

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), toured the manufacture New York facility in Brooklyn on Tuesday to discuss the Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act. Gillibrand introduced the legislation in an effort to create apparel and textile manufacturing jobs in the borough.

The bill would help grow the apparel, textile, and wearable manufacturing industry by creating a permanent program that designates local regions as "Manufacturing Communities." The designation would put these areas in the front line to receive federal economic development funding specifically for the purpose of investing in manufacturing.

“I know people outside of Brooklyn might not think of Brooklyn as a manufacturing hub, but in fact we have one of the most diverse and talented workforces in the country,” Gillibrand said to a group of people involved with manufacturing New York. “So it’s perfectly suited for a manufacturing boom. This factory right here can be a model for businesses all across the country. This factory shows us that Brooklyn is an ideal place to open up a manufacturing business.”

According to Gillibrand, this act would be an expansion of a domestic manufacturing program created by President Obama that designated regions throughout the country as manufacturing hubs.

Senator Gillibrand tours Manufacture New York, touts bipartisan "Made in American Manufacturing Communities Act

“We all know that Brooklyn has the diversity and talent to earn this honor, and I’m going to work hard in Washington to make sure it gets that designation,” she said. “What this program does is unlock millions of dollars in federal funds for manufacturing initiatives for this region. It’s a great program, but right now it’s not permanent, so when President Obama leaves office, the program ends. We can’t let that happen, so we have to make sure we reauthorize this program for permanent authorization.”

Gillibrand has affirmed that she has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate to help pass this bill through the lame duck session of Congress to follow after this year's presidential election.

Bob Bland, the founder and chief executive officer of Manufacture New York, said the manufacturing sector in the city has stabilized and is beginning to grow again after decades of decline. According to Bland, manufacturing jobs have fallen from nearly one million at their peak to 57,178 jobs in 2000 and 15,657 jobs in 2014, but still accounts for 30 percent of manufacturing jobs in the city.

The goal of Manufacture New York is to rebuild the manufacturing industry in America and build a sustainable global supply chain.

Two years ago, Manufacture New York moved to Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Sunset Park and partnered with the City of New York, the Mayor's Office, and New York City Economic Development Corp. through 3.5 million dollar grant to create the Manufacturing Innovation Center for Apparel, Textiles, and Wearable Technology.

“Manufacturing is the backbone of the innovation economy, giving creatives + technologists the tools to commercialize their ideas and create new startups that fuel job growth in our NY metropolitan region and across the country. We applaud Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s continued support of domestic manufacturing, and look forward to working with everyone in this region to create an inclusive consortium and apply for the designation provided in this great new bill. Since the Great Recession, virtually all small creative & manufacturing businesses in New York City have had the same challenges- access to affordable industrial space with long term leases, relocation grants for those who are displaced, affordable housing within a reasonable commuting distance, low interest working capital & lines of credit to grow our small businesses, and competitive equipment procurement and training programs so that we can adapt to a rapidly changing global landscape,” Bland said.

“I have been witnessing and supporting Brooklyn’s capacity to serve as a major manufacturing hub, especially when it comes to preserving New York’s waterfront for industrial use. Keeping our production at home provides quality employment opportunities for our neighbors and stimulates our economy. Senator Gillibrand understands the value in promoting local industries and I am so pleased to have her on our team. I will continue to support her efforts to push this legislation forward from both Brooklyn and Albany,” said New York state senator Velmanette Montgomery.

“I applaud U.S. Senator Gillibrand for her leadership in strengthening our manufacturing neighborhoods across the country. Here in Brooklyn, we are feeling the pressure to convert industrial spaces to residential properties. We need this legislation to strengthen our industrial zones against the forces of residential conversion. Our immigrant New Yorkers are ready to work in these manufacturing spaces - revitalizing an industry that, like immigrants, are part of the foundation and success of this city. In New York City, we will revitalize manufacturing and I truly believe that manufacturing can forever be a part of this city's economic landscape,” said Carlos Menchaca, city council member.

Gillibrand's bill would help create apparel and textile manufacturing jobs in Brooklyn by creating a permanent program to competitively award regions with the "Manufacturing Community" designation. The designation would give those communities with preferred preferred consideration when applying up to 1.3 billion dollars in currently available federal economic development funding for manufacturing.

In order to earn the "Manufacturing Communities" designation, communities would demonstrate the significance of manufacturing in their region and deeply strategies to utilize their "Manufacturing Communities" designation in making investments in six areas: · Workforce training and retraining; · Advanced research; · Infrastructure and site development; · Supply chain support; · Promotion of exports and foreign direct investment; and · Operational improvement and capital access for manufacturers that supports energy or process efficiency, equipment or facility upgrades, or the development of business incubators, among other activities.

Senator Gillibrand’s bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), and a bipartisan House version was introduced by U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).

photo via Senator Gillibrand's website