The Southern California region received a federal designation this week intended to funnel money into its aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry. The designation gives the region the first crack at $1.3 billion in federal grants.
Though the aerospace industry has shrunk here over the last few decades, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in announcing the designation that he thinks the new opportunity will invigorate the region's businesses and workforce, as well as the city's economy.
"We know how critical aerospace and advanced manufacturing have been to the history of Los Angeles, to the building of Southern California and this entire region," Garcetti said. "We're not ready to pack up yet. In fact, we think these are great jobs for the future."
A consortium of more than 80 organizations across L.A. County and Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties, called the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California, was one of a dozen regions given first crack at the grants under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Initiative. The 12 regions were chosen from 70 applications nationwide.
Jay Williams, U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, said the federal initiative is "at the center of the [Obama] administration's efforts to support job creation and accelerate manufacturing growth to make our communities more globally competitive."
In Southern California, organizations within the consortium — made up of schools, nonprofits, businesses and government entities — will move to the top of the pile when applying for grants from 11 federal agencies.
Universities, school districts and nonprofits that are part of the consortium — among them UCLA, UC San Diego and the Montebello Unified School District — can apply for grants for workforce training programs to prepare technicians or engineers for jobs within the area's aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.
Other organizations, such as the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., will work with companies seeking to get established in the region to help them find sites, buy equipment and cut through red tape.
The regions will have a designated liaison at each of the 11 federal agencies.
The agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Transportation.