‘Louisiana Chemical Corridor’ among 12 US communities to get federal manufacturing designation

Business Report

“The Louisiana Chemical Corridor” stretching across roughly 25 south Louisiana parishes, from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge and down to New Orleans, will be eligible for millions in federal funding to further its manufacturing resurgence following an announcement today that the corridor is one of 12 U.S. regions included in the Obama administration’s new Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership.

“An IMCP designation is an important signal to potential investors that these communities are a good place to spend their money, and this is smart government at work,” says U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in a prepared announcement released today. “By breaking down silos and encouraging communities to take a more thoughtful, comprehensive approach to their strategic plans, we are ensuring that precious federal dollars are used on the most high impact projects and in a way that maximizes return on investment.”

As Daily Report reported in May, LSU’s College of Engineering spearheaded the effort, with more than 80 local partners, including industry associations, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and companies like Turner Industries, Cajun Industries and Motiva. The Louisiana Chemical Corridor is now among just 24 regions in the U.S. to receive IMCP designation. The first 12 communities to receive the designation were announced in May of last year. No other regions in Louisiana have the designation.

“We appreciate and applaud LSU’s leadership to secure the new Manufacturing Community designation for the Baton Rouge/New Orleans super region,” says Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp in a prepared statement. “It’s another great validation of the uniqueness and national importance of our super region’s economy.”

The IMCP designated communities will receive coordinated support for their economic development strategies from 11 federal agencies with more than $1 billion available in federal assistance, according to today’s announcement. The agencies include the Small Business Association and U.S. departments of agriculture, commerce, defense, housing and urban development, labor and transportation. The 12 communities selected for IMCP designation today were evaluated on the strength of their economic development plans, the potential for impact in their communities and the depth of their partnerships across public and private sectors to carry out their plans.

“As demonstrated by this year’s designees, leaders from the private sector, local government, higher education, local economic development organizations and other nonprofits worked together to identify a sector of manufacturing where their community has a comparative advantage and drafted a strategic plan that addresses: workforce and supply chain challenges; infrastructure; research and innovation; trade and investment; capital access; and operational improvement for manufacturing companies,” reads the announcement, which has more details and a full list of U.S. regions receiving the IMCP designation.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since original publication to clarify the number of parishes included in The Louisiana Chemical Corridor. 

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