Last December, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program (IMCP), an Economic Development Administration initiative that will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in regions across the country. The IMCP will reward communities that best highlight their strengths and demonstrate they can combine their efforts around workforce training, infrastructure, and research centers to implement an economic development plan that will attract, retain, and expand manufacturing investment.

When we learned about this opportunity, we knew it was something we had to pursue. Yes, we know this region is the manufacturing heartland of the Bay Area and yes, manufacturing accounts for 21 percent of the regional GRP. But more importantly, we have that all-too-often missing ingredient—the strong partnerships and leadership needed to drive investment and build a self-sustaining, thriving manufacturing ecosystem here in the East Bay.

So, we have partnered with a broad consortium of stakeholders (as shown in the chart below) to form the East Bay Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which is seeking this coveted and competitive IMCP designation for East Bay biomedical industry cluster. The effort to bring this designation to the bay area was spearheaded by the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County, the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board, the University of California Berkeley, and Manex.

Having completed a data-driven assessment of the local manufacturing environment, it’s clear that we are uniquely competitive in biomedical manufacturing. We have the opportunity, through IMCP, to make specific investments to build on strengths and address gaps in our biomedical sector. In fact, this theory has already been validated through the establishment of the East Bay Biomedical Manufacturing Network, thanks to a previous federal grantaward in 2012. We believe this strategy will allow us to capitalize on the significant growth of biomedical in the region and will make an impact on companies deciding to expand or relocate their firms.

We expect to hear the results of the IMCP application process later this summer and believe that we have put forth a very compelling story – even when competing on a national level. But regardless of the outcome, the effort and collaboration that went into preparing the application has produced a powerful result. This region has come together in thoroughly articulating how we lead the nation in biomedical manufacturing and how we can work together to shepherd its continued success. It’s partnerships like these that will create globally competitive manufacturing hubs nationwide.


About Manex: The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (Manex) is a private non-profit corporation providing services to small and mid-size manufacturers in Northern California. Manex operates through a cooperative agreement between the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), under the Department of Commerce. Manex is based in San Ramon.