Colorado loses bid for federal manufacturing grant program

Colorado did not receive designation as a manufacturing community that would have put the state ahead of others in line for millions of dollars in federal grants designed to improve sophisticated manufacturing capabilities.

Karla Tartz, deputy director and chief strategy officer of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, confirmed that the Front Range and Western Slope did not receive the designation from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The designation as an integrated manufacturing community would have given the state an advantage when the federal government awarded funding to companies.

In December 2013, the Obama Administration launched a national competition led by the Department of Commerce to designate “manufacturing communities.” Eleven federal agencies and programs with $1.3 billion in federal economic development assistance will coordinate their efforts to support strategies developed by the 12 designated communities.

The effort is part of President Obama’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership initiative, being led by the Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration.

Some 70 communities applied to the program. The Economic Development Administration selected communities based on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential for impact in their communities and the depths of their partnerships across the public and private sector to carry out their plans:

Communities that received the designation were:

– Southwest Alabama led by the University of South Alabama

– Southern California led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development

– Northwest Georgia led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission

– The Chicago metro region led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development

– South Kansas led by Wichita State University

– Greater Portland region in Maine led by the Greater Portland Council of Governments

– Southeastern Michigan led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine

– The New York Finger Lakes region led by the city of Rochester

– Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region led by the city of Cincinnati

– The Tennessee Valley led by the University of Tennessee

– The Washington Puget Sound region led by the Puget Sound Regional Council

– The Milwaukee 7 Region led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee

The Colorado economic development office called its initiative “Smart Colorado,” which centers on industries such as bioscience, clean energy, information technology and aerospace manufacturing as well as identifying universities, federal labs and researchers that could assist Colorado’s manufacturing sector.

Tartz said that the state economic development office will continue to work with federal agencies to acquire funding for advanced manufacturing companies.

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