Greater St. Louis has won a large federal grant to revitalize advanced manufacturing.local business

st. LOUIS — His $25 million federal grant, announced Friday by the Biden administration, will help speed the start of work at the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center in North St. Louis, boosting workforce training and entrepreneurship across the region. Help cover the cost of the program.

The grant is part of the U.S. Economic Development Agency’s billion-dollar community recovery challenge established by the U.S. Rescue Plans Act of 2021 and is touted as a major win by Greater St. Louis Inc., a regional economic development group. I was.

St. Louis is one of 21 regional grant winners who have received between $25 million and $65 million from 60 finalists and over 500 original applicants.

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Greater St. Louis CEO Jason Hall said in a statement: “Working together as Subway is effective. That’s how St. Louis wins his next decade.”

It is also another triumph for the still young Greater St. Louis, formed in less than two years by the merger of five civic and business groups including Civic Progress, the former St. Louis Regional Chamber and Downtown STL Inc. is. Competing business groups have also helped land direct flights to Germany, attract major employers, and redevelop long vacant buildings downtown.

Greater St. Louis was a formal applicant for the grant, but worked closely with the St. Louis County-centric St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which helped develop the initial concept in 2015. The advanced manufacturing center is now envisioned as his 140,000-square-foot facility near Lunken University of Technology. The partnership will help create a non-profit organization to raise funds and operate the advanced manufacturing center and is chaired by former Boeing CEO Dennis Muhlenberg.

Boeing Names COO and President Muilenberg as New CEO

In this August 19, 2010 file photo, Dennis Muilenburg, then-Executive Vice President of Boeing and President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, speaks at a ceremony at Muscoota’s Mid-America Airport. doing.

Tim Vizer, Belleville News-Democrat via AP, File

Post-industrialization hit St. Louis, and grant applications highlighted the disproportionate impact on black residents and the larger community’s struggle with stagnant population and job growth. But even after the industrial decline, much of the sector’s infrastructure and talent remains from the city’s days as a 20th-century manufacturing giant. Major employers such as Boeing and General Motors employ thousands, and small factories producing highly specialized products are spread throughout the region.

“There is a great opportunity here to rebuild a manufacturing ecosystem that is actually very strong,” Muhlenberg said in an interview. “The manufacturing structure here is very strong and we have a chance to transform it for the future.”

Strengthening advanced manufacturing can connect two other sectors (biological sciences and geospatial technology) in what authorities have begun to call the region’s “technology triangle.”

“The St. Louis Tech Triangle Coalition will build on the region’s industrial base to create inclusive economic growth opportunities to create a strong and resilient economy for the future,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond said in a statement. We will build a national model for

Biden's economic development

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond speaks at a White House event at the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.

Jacqueline Martin, Associated Press

Muhlenberg is involved because he calls St. Louis home. Before becoming his CEO in 2015, he was the head of Boeing’s defense operations in northern St. Louis County, where his two children were raised. During his tenure as CEO from 2015 to 2019, he actually went to Boeing’s headquarters in Chicago.

Design work and contractor selection for the advanced manufacturing center are already underway, with construction expected to begin in mid-2023 and be completed by 2025, Muilenburg said. Approximately $7 million of the grant will be used to build a new advanced manufacturing center. The center is expected to cost him $55 million to $60 million, in addition to programming.

Boeing announced a $5 million donation last week, and Muilenberg said further funding is underway to fill the gap, from private, charitable and government sources. About $16.3 million in local matching funds has already been secured, in addition to $25 million in grants.

“It gives us a very good start,” he said. “There are several other industry initiatives that have already taken place but have yet to be announced.”

The center will serve as a future ‘hub’ for the region’s advanced manufacturing ecosystem, which backers hope will be used for training, research and development, prototyping and production.

Grants were awarded for various aspects of this initiative, including $1 million for training by Rung for Women, $2.5 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy at Southwestern Illinois College, and $3 million for a similar training center at St. Louis Community College. distributed among partners. There is $1 million for the drug manufacturing program at Cortex and $3 million for the Greater St. Louis and Economic Development Partnership to build the manufacturing ecosystem. Approximately $7.5 million will be split between BioSTL, Harris-Stowe, WEPOWER, and the Small Business Empowerment Center to promote racial equality in manufacturing entrepreneurship.

The employee training component is very important, says Muilenburg. Manufacturers here have long said they find it difficult to fill positions that require more technical skills than factory jobs of the past.

“There is no shortage of manufacturing jobs today,” he said. “There are tremendous, tens of thousands, unfilled manufacturing jobs, and what we need is talent.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the size of the planned Advanced Manufacturing Center.

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