A dozen communities across the United States have been designated Manufacturing Communities, part of the administration’s efforts to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Credit: Wired Photostream; Flickr; CC BY-NC 2.0

Some 650,000 manufacturing jobs have been created in the last five years, but that’s not enough—at least, not according to the White House.

As part of an effort to not only strengthen the U.S. manufacturing sector, but also spur job creation, President Obama recently designated 12 communities as Manufacturing Communities—the country’s first—backed by federal agencies and funds.

Introduced last September, the administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) pairs government agencies with local communities to “develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments.” The designation of a dozen Manufacturing Communities is part of phase two of IMCP.

More than 70 communities applied, but the 12 selected—all of which have “developed strong economic development plans and have deep partnerships in place across the public and private sectors to carry out their plans”—include:

  • Southwest Alabama led by the University of South Alabama
  • Southern California led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development
  • Northwest Georgia led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
  • Chicago metro region led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
  • South Kansas led by Wichita State University
  • Greater Portland region in Maine led by the Greater Portland Council of Governments
  • Southeastern Michigan led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine
  • New York Finger Lakes region led by the City of Rochester
  • Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region led by the City of Cincinnati
  • Tennessee Valley led by the University of Tennessee
  • Washington Puget Sound region led by the Puget Sound Regional Council
  • Milwaukee 7 Region led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee

More than $1.3 billion will be channeled through 11 federal agencies to help the communities make targeted investments that will strengthen regional manufacturing. According to the White House, they also will receive a federal liaison and branding and promotion as a designated Manufacturing Community “to help attract additional private investments and partnerships.”

A second competition to identify the next round of communities will begin later this year.

To read more about the communities selected, click here.