Quad Cities Applying For "Manufacturing Community" Title - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Quad Cities Applying For "Manufacturing Community" Title

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The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce held its annual economic forecast Thursday.

During the presentation John Deere's chief economist said the economy is looking better this year than it did last.

He says the unemployment rate is falling, more growth is projected on the world stage, and he says if consumers start buying things again, the economy will gain some momentum.

"If you can get consumers spending, that'll convince all of the companies that are holding onto cash will start to invest it and then you can get some momentum to this thing. That's why the expectation is these things are going to start coming together," says J.B. Penn.

One of the efforts underway to capture that projected global growth here at home is to get the Quad Cities named a manufacturing community.

It's a new federal program designed to give a jolt to manufacturers in 12 spots around the country.

If the Quad Cities is named a manufacturing community, it will have first in line access to $1.3 billion in federal aid, as well as a hot line to ten different federal agencies.

The point is to give these manufacturing communities easy access to scientists, regulators, and marketers.

Helping manufacturers solve problems holding back growth.

"We've been manufacturing for two hundred years, we know manufacturing, we understand manufacturing," says John Deere Community and Economic Development Director Bill Ratzburg. He says the knowledge base will give the Quad Cities an edge as it applies for this manufacturing community status. The title will help in several ways. First, providing expertise directly to manufacturers.

"You are actually moved to the front of the line for federal support for ten different agencies, everything from commerce to energy, to the department of defense," says Ratzburg.

Second, it can also help form a manufacturing hub here, giving businesses access to new techniques and new ideas.

Bi-State Regional Commission Economic Development Project Manager Mark Hunt says, "As the world economy grows it needs resources, we can provide those resources here in the Quad Cities."

Hunt says getting those resources to market can be challenging. New rules and laws can form a maze. Having a hotline to the maze's map, can make manufacturing more efficient.

"Whether they be regulatory, new legislation, what have you, having that direct phone line if you will, with that designation will open contacts with the federal government," says Hunt.

Ratzburg says the ultimate goal is simple. Getting more jobs here by helping improve businesses bottom lines.

"By strengthening the supply base and increasing the strength of the manufacturing sector in our economy, those are the companies that support the John Deeres and the Alcoas of the world," says Ratzburg.

The Chamber is sending in the application for the manufacturing community title in the next few weeks.

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