DETROIT- Partners including the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN), Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, were awarded $2.19 million over three years through the federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge for Advanced Manufacturing. The funding will support development of the “Innovation Realization Cluster” of Southeast Michigan and connect local businesses with new opportunities in an effort to foster growth and development of the region’s custom-manufacturing base
“A growing number of manufacturing firms are, or are open to, making a business of producing new things, as well as supporting other companies in doing so,” explained Lisa Katz, Executive Director of WIN. “Each partner organization will play a critical role in addressing challenges that prevent these employers from starting, growing, or transforming their business.”
Funds will allow partner recipients to identify and connect small-to-medium manufacturing firms that can support lower-volume, rapid-production, highly custom projects. For example, companies will be better poised to help entrepreneurial firms that develop new concepts to produce prototypes and initial runs of those products without necessarily going into high- volume production. Partners will work with companies to develop their capacity to accommodate and promote such contracts, arrange partnerships to bid and work on such opportunities, and train workers in custom manufacturing processes, including rapid machine set-up, prototyping, and related skillsets.
Mike Finney, President & CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation added, “Manufacturers throughout Southeast Michigan are well-positioned to compete in this space. We can fuel innovation by teaching new processes and opening the door to new markets.”
In addition to the federal funds, the state of Michigan will provide $500,000 through the MI Match program. Other key supporting partners include the members of the Business Accelerator Network of SE Michigan (BANSEM), University of Michigan, and Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Southeast Michigan Community Alliance is the fiscal agent for key elements of the grant.
The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge for Advanced Manufacturing is funded by five federal agencies: Economic Development Administration, Employment & Training Administration, Small Business Administration, Department of Energy, and National Institute of Science & Technology.