A new Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) has been launched to accelerate the growth of urban manufacturing across the U.S. and to capitalize on the sector’s ability to create stable, high-quality jobs.
The UMA is anchored by the Pratt Center for Community Development in New York and SFMade in San Francisco. It will include manufacturing job creation efforts in 16 cities. Funding for the UMA was provided by a $300,000 contribution from Citi Community Development.
Exchanging ideas on how urban manufacturing can reduce chronic unemployment and regain its foothold in dense urban areas are key goals of the new alliance. Members will also share best practices and address common challenges.
SFMade membership has swelled to more than 400 companies who are all headquartered in and producing their products in San Francisco. This vibrant sector now employs more than 3,000 low-to-moderate income individuals. In New York, the Pratt Center for Community Development has 850 member companies, which together employ more than 8,000 low-to moderate income individuals.
“This alliance reflects our recognition of the excellent potential in urban centers to expand economic opportunity and job growth at a large scale,” said Vicki Joseph, of Citi Community Development. “Many American manufacturers are small businesses, which we know are primary job creators, and reports indicate that as many as a third of the nation’s small manufacturers are located in the ten largest cities.”
The new alliance was launched during a two-day gathering that began at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and ended with a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard to observe a best-in-class national model for nonprofit industrial development which now generates $2 billion yearly in direct and indirect economic impact.
Kate Sofis, Executive Director of SFMade, said manufacturing in San Francisco was growing dramatically. The sector added more than 12.5% net new jobs in 2012 as compared with 10.5% in 2011.
“We are excited to continue this momentum and to bring this energy to other cities and to learn from them as well, said Sofis. “Our success has been due in large part to the tremendous partnership we have with the City – from the elected leadership to key departments - which fully embraces the drive for innovative, cross-sector solutions to increase manufacturing capacity.”
The UMA will build on the successes and expertise of SFMade and the Pratt Center as it implements focused regional initiatives in Chicago, Oakland and New York City and integrates the work of groups in a dozen additional cities ranging from Detroit and Philadelphia to Allentown and Atlanta. UMA members will focus on common challenges, ranging from branding to supply chain linkages, and will create a forum for policy development and advocacy. The Alliance will accelerate the efforts of local groups through the development of toolkits for local manufacturing support organizations, the creation of an online community and the convening of bi-monthly meetings. In addition, a national policy brief for the urban manufacturing sector will be published.
“Revitalizing our manufacturing sector is at the center of our nation’s economic policy,” said Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. ”Manufacturing is heavily concentrated in urban areas. The policy conversation about the role of manufacturing in our economy must address the particular needs of urban manufacturers in order to create jobs for a diverse workforce.”
Founded in 2010, SFMade is a non-profit organization uniquely focused on building San Francisco’s economic base by developing the local urban manufacturing sector. SFMade’s programs – spanning industry-specific education, business advising, industrial real estate assistance, hiring assistance and youth apprenticeships, and a nationally recognized local brand platform - currently support more than 400 local manufacturers who collectively sustain more than 3000 jobs for diverse residents of San Francisco. For more information, visit www.sfmade.org
About the Pratt Center for Community Development
The Pratt Center is the oldest university-based advocacy planning and technical assistance organization in the United States. Located in Brooklyn, NY and part of Pratt Institute, Pratt Center leverages professional skills and practical experience in the areas of community organizing, policy advocacy, planning and technical assistance to support community-based organizations in their efforts to improve neighborhood quality of life and to create replicable models for equitable, sustainable community development. For more information, visit www.prattcenter.net
About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, visit www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.