Brooklyn, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday toured Manufacture New York, a woman-owned fashion design and production incubator in Brooklyn for independent designers, and announced her bipartisan Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act legislation. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation would grow the apparel, textile, and wearable tech manufacturing industry in Brooklyn 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.
“New York City has one of the most diverse and talented workforces in the entire country, and that makes us perfectly positioned for a manufacturing boom, particularly in the apparel and textile industries,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bipartisan legislation would unlock millions of dollars in federal economic development funds for smart investments in high-impact projects and would leverage public-private partnerships to help create good-paying manufacturing jobs in Brooklyn, jumpstart new businesses, and grow our economy for years to come.”
“Manufacturing is the backbone of the innovation economy, giving creatives + technologists the tools to commercialize their ideas and create new startups that fuel job growth in our NY metropolitan region and across the country. We applaud Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s continued support of domestic manufacturing, and look forward to working with everyone in this region to create an inclusive consortium and apply for the designation provided in this great new bill. Since the Great Recession, virtually all small creative & manufacturing businesses in New York City have had the same challenges- access to affordable industrial space with long term leases, relocation grants for those who are displaced, affordable housing within a reasonable commuting distance, low interest working capital & lines of credit to grow our small businesses, and competitive equipment procurement and training programs so that we can adapt to a rapidly changing global landscape,” said Bob Bland, CEO/Founder of Manufacture New York.
“Manufacturing is a key component to building a sustainable economy. Learning from our past and re-imagining the new manufacturing technologies and practices will require cooperation and smart policies. Senators Gillibrand and Kirk are demonstrating that kind of leadership by introducing the Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act. The American Sustainable Business Council is proud to stand with them and endorse this bill,” said David Levine, CEO and co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council.
“I want to thank Senator Gillibrand for advancing the Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act and the prosperity it promises not only to Brooklyn, but to communities across our country. This program will inspire local manufacturers to strive for a global presence and to reap the rewards of their success. The Brooklyn brand is in greater demand than ever, and this bill will help our artisans and manufacturers spread their products around the globe,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“I have been witnessing and supporting Brooklyn’s capacity to serve as a major manufacturing hub, especially when it comes to preserving New York’s waterfront for industrial use. Keeping our production at home provides quality employment opportunities for our neighbors and stimulates our economy. Senator Gillibrand understands the value in promoting local industries and I am so pleased to have her on our team. I will continue to support her efforts to push this legislation forward from both Brooklyn and Albany,” said New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery.
“I applaud U.S. Senator Gillibrand for her leadership in strengthening our manufacturing neighborhoods across the country. Here in Brooklyn, we are feeling the pressure to convert industrial spaces to residential properties. We need this legislation to strengthen our industrial zones against the forces of residential conversion. Our immigrant New Yorkers are ready to work in these manufacturing spaces – revitalizing an industry that, like immigrants, are part of the foundation and success of this city. In New York City, we will revitalize manufacturing and I truly believe that manufacturing can forever be a part of this city’s economic landscape,” said Carlos Menchaca, City Council Member.
The manufacturing sector in New York City has stabilized and is beginning to grow again after a decade of decline, according to the Center for an Urban Future. However, the number of apparel manufacturing jobs in New York City declined from 57,178 jobs in 2000 to 15,657 jobs in 2014. Senator Gillibrand’s bill would help create apparel and textile manufacturing jobs in Brooklyn by creating a permanent program to competitively award regions with the “Manufacturing Communities” 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, or 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 Bustos (D-IL), John Garamendi (D-CA), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).