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The Federal Role in Supporting Urban Manufacturing
Pratt Center and Brookings Institution release strategy for making cities the center of an industrial business boom
Revitalizing American manufacturing is widely acknowledged as vital to our country’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity—but first, rusty old assumptions about what actually gets produced in the USA need to disappear and give way to policies that support today's budding businesses: small, speciality operations that are increasingly being located in the nation's cities. A report by the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program and the Pratt Center for Community Development, “The Federal Role in Supporting Urban Manufacturing,” describes the changing economic geography of America’s production sector—and how the federal government should work with state and local leaders to better support its growth and development.
The report looks at how cities, including New York, have made sure that budding manufacturing businesses have room and resources to grow. While conventional wisdom says that urban manufacturing is in decline because it's no longer necessary, the Pratt Center/Brookings research found that for decades urban manufacturing has been sidelined by government policies that control the money, land and other resources businesses need to succeed. The report outlines essential steps to put government to work in support of manufacturing instead of against it, and open up job growth where it's most urgently needed—in the cities where the workers, transportation and markets already exist.
To help New York City and State as well as other states and localities better support the needs of small, urban manufacturers, the report recommends that the federal government:
- Modernize policies to encourage metropolitan areas and states to capitalize on their existing manufacturing assets, support their integration into regional economic clusters, and do a better job of coordinating economic development with sustainability goals;
- Encourage federally funded state and local workforce organizations to develop and enhance programs that equip workers with skills that match existing and emerging manufacturing jobs;
- Provide support to states to create advanced manufacturing centers that focus on the research and development of new technologies and help manufacturing firms apply these technologies to their work;
- Support state and local policies that help small manufacturers expand into new domestic and global markets;
- Revise Small Business Administration programs to diversify the kind and amount of funding available to small manufacturers; and
- Revamp programs and policies, such as the rules for Industrial Revenue Bonds, to help revive the market for industrial real estate development in urban areas.