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 10 largest cities."
The 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 $2bn 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 percent net new jobs in 2012 as compared with 10.5 percent 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."
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