Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Governor Pat Quinn, and Senator Dick Durbin announced today that the Chicago Metro Region is one of the first 12 locations to be designated a “Manufacturing Community” through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative. The U.S. Commerce Department-led program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.
The proposal for the Chicago Metro Region was led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development in partnership with more than 20 organizations and municipalities, including the seven counties of northeastern Illinois and the Cities of Joliet and Chicago, acting collectively as the “Chicago Metro Metal Consortium.”
The Chicago Metro Region has long been considered one of the nation’s top metal manufacturing regions. Currently, there are more than 3,700 metal and machining firms in the region employing more than 100,000 people and generating $30 billion in annual revenue. The metal industry utilizes the region’s transportation strengths, including six Class 1 railroads, seven interstate highways and the second busiest international cargo airport.
“The Chicago Metro Metal Consortium will build on the region’s metal and transportation assets to create well-paying jobs while accelerating the resurgence of manufacturing in our area,” Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said. “This designation is the result of a remarkable partnership with local municipalities and organizations which allows us to work together to capitalize on our strategic location and strong capacity for economic growth.”
“Illinois is making a comeback and our local, county and state partnerships with industry have made us the economic engine of the Midwest,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said. “We are making Illinois the center of high-tech industrial job creation. We are ranked third in the nation for new corporate locations and expansions. And now this Chicago Metro metal consortium led by Cook County will help drive even more innovation, expansion and job creation.”
“Under the leadership of the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, the Chicago metropolitan area has distinguished itself as one of our country’s leading centers of manufacturing. Today’s federal designation will allow the region’s manufacturing sector to build on its historical strengths and leverage recent growth – including the federally-funded Digital Manufacturing Lab – by expanding access to federal funding and resources,” United States Senator Dick Durbin said.
“The University of Illinois is delighted to be the higher education partner for the Chicago Metro Region’s successful bid for this important designation by the U.S. Economic Development Agency. This will enable us to continue working with a diverse set of industry, government, and education stakeholders to reestablish the region as a nexus for manufacturing innovation.” Robert A. Easter, President, University of Illinois.
As one of 12 designated Manufacturing Communities the Chicago Metro Region will be eligible for $1.3 billion in future federal funding in workforce development; supplier network; research and innovation; infrastructure and site development; trade and international investment; and operational improvement and capital access. The Metro Region will also receive coordinated support from 11 federal agencies, including a designated liaison at each agency, to help navigate available resources.
Partners in the Chicago Metro Metal Consortium include Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, City of Chicago, City of Joliet, Cook County, DuPage County, DuPage Workforce Board, Funk Linko, Harper College (on behalf Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing), Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Kane County, Kendall County, Lake County and Lake County Partners, McHenry County, McHenry County Workforce Net Board, UI Labs, University of Illinois, Will County, Will County Workforce Investment Board, and World Business Chicago.