A few weeks ago, LifeCity attended a conference hosted by the White House and Department of Commerce called the Investing in Manufacturing Communities (IMCP) Summit. Thanks to the efforts of LifeCity and LSU, South Louisiana is designated as one of 24 manufacturing communities across the country to receive preferential treatment in gaining access to over $1billion of federal funding. The application submitted by LifeCity’s Value Louisiana Initiative and LSU focused on our strength in chemical manufacturing and a comprehensive approach to grow our economy through small business development alongside large corporations, through innovation that eliminates waste and saves costs, and workforce development that is equitable. LSU, Entergy Corporation, and Performance Contractors also attended the summit with LifeCity.
During the summit in Washington, D.C., the federal government’s Place-based Initiatives were discussed, including the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and HUD’s Promise Zones. The role of geography was emphasized not only because the zip code in which we are born can determine our economic status in the future, but also because it is in the physical places that we live that govern our social and cultural norms that determine so much of our behavior. Place matters. Thus, through these place-based initiatives, the government has encouraged communities to come together and establish a plan to improve social, economic, and environmental factors (including the IMCP Initiative).
In addition to emphasizing place, the IMCP Summit also emphasized innovation. The US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker discussed the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that the government is funding across the country. The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) provides a manufacturing research infrastructure where U.S. industry and academia collaborate to solve industry-relevant problems. The NNMI is a network of Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation that each has a unique focus, but a common goal to create, showcase, and deploy new capabilities and new manufacturing processes. LSU is developing partnerships found an innovation institute for manufacturing in our region that could focus on biofuels, nanocellular technology, and other new and exciting advances in tech.
Finally, the summit placed an emphasis on integration and collaboration that leverages cross-sector partners, multiple federal agencies and government departments, and funding mechanisms. Toby Rittner, President & CEO at Council of Development Finance Agencies discussed the use of developing a bond fund that can allow local individuals to become investors in manufacturing communities. “Stacking capital” so that local foundations, the private sector, and national interests can all be aligned to implement local strategies is key to community success.
LifeCity and our Value Louisiana partners are looking forward to partnering with LSU and other community leaders to develop a strategic plan for chemical manufacturing that leverages the latest innovation and creates the greatest impact on our economy, community, and environment.