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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Department of Commerce Announcement in Support of Madison Regional Economic Partnership (MadREP)

Wisconsin Receives Second Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Designation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin applauded an announcement today by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker that the Madison Regional Economic Partnership (MadREP) received a designation under the Obama Administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative.

The U.S. Commerce Department-led program, is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies. Senator Baldwin is a strong supporter of the Obama Administration initiative and in March wrote a letter of support for MadREP, which is comprised of a 14 county region in Wisconsin that is focused on agriculture, food and beverage (AFB) manufacturing as their key technology sector (KTS).

“I am proud to support this initiative to move our Made in Wisconsin manufacturing and agricultural economy forward,” said Senator Baldwin. “This federal support recognizes Wisconsin’s strengths and can help us create stronger economic growth for our state.”

The dairy industry experienced a steep decline in early 2000, but recently turned around due to the development and growth of the artisan cheese market. The specialty cheese market now represents 22% of the state’s cheese output. The second wave was the rise of organic farming and processing, which continues to thrive. Farms and agricultural business contributed $88.3 billion in economic activity and 413,500 jobs in the state’s economy in 2012. The sector is growing, with sales from farm related activity and food processing combined increasing 49.3% from 2007 to 2012.

“An IMCP designation is an important signal to potential investors that these communities are a good place to spend their money, and this is smart government at work," said Secretary Pritzker. “By breaking down silos and encouraging communities to take a more thoughtful, comprehensive approach to their strategic plans, we are ensuring that precious federal dollars are used on the most high impact projects and in a way that maximizes return on investment.”

The MadREP designation is the second for Wisconsin, last year Senator Baldwin supported the Milwaukee 7 region (M7) designation as a one of the first 12 Manufacturing Communities in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. The Milwaukee 7 region, known as “The Machine Shop of the World”, has a long manufacturing legacy as a powerhouse of the 20th century industrial economy. Manufacturing in the region provides 149,300 jobs, or 15.8% of regional employment, making the Milwaukee 7 region second for manufacturing density among the top 50 U.S. manufacturing regions. Manufacturing jobs are a core rung on the region’s ladder of opportunity – paying 31% more than the average job in the region. As the region looks forward to another century of strength in manufacturing, the Milwaukee 7 are embarking on a strategy to increase the region’s competitiveness in three core manufacturing sectors: energy and power; water technologies; and food and beverage manufacturing.