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News Release

Obama administration awards $20.5 million for Make it in America Challenge grants to spur business investment and job creation

U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor, as well as Delta Regional Authority, to fund 10 projects for worker training, domestic and foreign business investment, and supply chain access

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny S. Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Christopher A. Masingill today announced the 10 winners of the Make it in America Challenge, an Obama administration initiative to accelerate job creation and encourage business investment in the United States. The grantees are receiving a total of $20,533,409 for projects supporting regional economic development, advanced skills training, greater supply chain access and other enhancements. The programs are designed to encourage U.S. companies to keep, expand or reshore their manufacturing operations — and jobs — in America, and to entice foreign companies to build facilities and make their products here.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, and the Delta Regional Authority are funding the winning proposals. Additionally, Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership plans to make awards in early FY2014 in support of this initiative.

"Making smart investments in a skilled workforce are critical to continuing our recovery and unleashing the economy's full potential," said Secretary of Labor Perez. "In an increasingly sophisticated economy, equipping workers with the skills they need to succeed on the job isn't just a workforce development issue, but also an economic development issue and the partnerships funded through these Make it in America Challenge grants are helping to lead the way."

"Supporting innovative, regionally-based strategies that create an environment that encourages businesses to invest in the U.S. is vital to enhancing our nation's global competitiveness," said Secretary of Commerce Pritzker. "These Make It In America Challenge grants reward promising ideas that will advance the Obama administration's goals of improving our economy by strengthening our manufacturing sector and making our country a more attractive place to do business."

The 10 winners of the Make it in America Challenge will pursue projects in nine states. Descriptions of each project, including grant amount breakdowns by agency are available at

  • The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority of Brunswick, Maine ($2,050,000)
  • The Center for Automotive Research of Ann Arbor, Mich. ($1,471,800)
  • The Mississippi State University of Starkville, Miss. ($1,931,935)
  • The Board of Curators at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. ($1,842,977)
  • N.E.O. Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio ($1,796,867)
  • The Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District of Reno, Ohio ($1,700,844)
  • The Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments of Salem, Ore. ($1,714,376)
  • The SEDA Council of Governments of Lewisburg, Pa. ($1,800,000)
  • Clemson University of Clemson, S.C.: 2 projects (construction and non-construction) ($3,549,610)
  • The Innovate Washington of Spokane, Wash. ($2,675,000)

The Make it in America Challenge was issued on March 18, 2013. Under President Obama's leadership, federal agencies are collaborating more effectively to make smart investments that provide stakeholders with a seamless process for applying for federal resources. To that end, the Make it in America Challenge allowed applicants to submit one application to fund projects that: help distressed regions build on existing assets, promote a competitive environment for foreign-owned and domestic firms to establish and grow their U.S. operations, create jobs and develop a skilled workforce for specific industries.

A forthcoming announcement will be made regarding additional funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which will focus on developing greater connectivity of regional supply chains in addition to assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The Make it in America Challenge builds on the United States' significant competitive advantages — from a strong business climate, to a highly-skilled and productive workforce — that make it a profitable place for businesses to invest. Investing in businesses and production here can help put more Americans back to work. Some of the ways in which the administration has already helped American workers and businesses thrive include: enhancing the general business climate, securing access to markets for U.S. exports, providing financial and technical support for companies to grow and expand, providing funding to improve education and training opportunities to develop a skilled workforce, and enforcing global trade rules to ensure that American businesses and workers are competing on a level playing field.

For more information on the Make it in America Challenge, please visit:

Employment and Training Administration
October 22, 2013
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