Press Release

Senator Gillibrand Tours Demers Ambulances & Announces New Bipartisan “Made In America Manufacturing Communities Act” To Create Manufacturing Jobs

May 27, 2016

Plattsburgh, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today toured Demers Ambulances and announced her new bipartisan Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act legislation. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation would grow the manufacturing industry in Upstate New York by creating a permanent program that designates local regions as “Manufacturing Communities,” which would put them in the front of the line to receive federal economic development funding specifically for the purpose of investing in manufacturing.

“Upstate New York has one of the greatest manufacturing traditions in the country, and we need to help ensure that our local communities have the chance to become leading national manufacturing hubs in the 21st Century,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bipartisan legislation will unlock millions of dollars in federal economic development funds for smart investments in high impact projects and leverage public-private partnerships to help create good-paying manufacturing jobs, jumpstart new businesses, and grow our economy for years to come.”   

“The Plattsburgh region has a long and proud history of making things,” states Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. “That legacy continues today through one of upstate New York’s most diverse manufacturing communities, with the notable emergence of a major transportation equipment cluster of national and international significance. We thank Senator Gillibrand for helping to highlight this growing cluster and for all of her support, from the new five year transportation bill enacted in December to her proposed legislation aimed at bringing greater federal support to manufacturing communities like ours and others in the North Country. We also appreciate her support for the future of Demers Ambulances, now made in the U.S.A. in Plattsburgh, New York.”

“Spencer ARL is proud to have Senator Gillibrand visit and see our new production line for Demers Ambulances. The North Country’s transportation equipment cluster has become a real bright spot for manufacturing upstate, something she has recognized through her support for federal transportation funding and her efforts to create new tools to potentially help manufacturing communities like ours maximize our assets and opportunities,” states John Vermette, Plant Manager of Spencer ARL, producers of  Demers Ambulances in the U.S.

New York has struggled with manufacturing job losses despite manufacturing job growth in other areas of the country. To bolster more growth in the New York manufacturing industry, Senator Gillibrand’s bill would create a permanent program to competitively award regions with the “Manufacturing Community” designation. This designation would give these communities preferred consideration when applying for up to $1.3 billion in currently available federal economic development funding for manufacturing. This legislation encourages a regionally-driven approach to strengthening the manufacturing industry. To compete for funding through this program and earn the “Manufacturing Communities” designation, communities would create regional partnerships with key stakeholders such as local and state economic development officials, local governments, manufacturers, labor organizations, and higher education or other training providers. 

In order to earn the Manufacturing Communities designation, communities would demonstrate the significance of manufacturing in their region and develop strategies to utilize their “Manufacturing Communities” designation in making investments in six areas:

  • Workforce training and retraining;
  • Advanced research;
  • Infrastructure and site development;
  • Supply chain support;
  • Promotion of exports and foreign direct investment; and
  • Operational improvement and capital access for manufacturers that supports energy or process efficiency, equipment or facility upgrades, the development of business incubators, among other activities.

Senator Gillibrand’s bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), and a bipartisan House version was introduced by U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Tom Reed (R-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH), John Katko (R-NY), Cheri Bustros (D-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).