February 26, 2014 – Mark D. Hunt, Economic Development/Public Safety Manager, updated the Commissioners on the status of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) grant, which was jointly received by the Commission and Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce in the fall of 2013.  The grant award provides $162,500 in planning assistance funds from the Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to create an implementation plan for a regional Metal and Multi-Materials (M3) Innovation Hub.  The grant is matched by $162,500 in local funds provided by public and private sector entities.

At this time, the Chamber and Bi-State staff are working with Strategic Development Group (SDG) to write the M3 Innovation Hub Plan.  A steering committee and multiple taskforces consisting of local manufacturing executives, government, and academic leaders are helping to guide the planning process.  The Hub is intended to serve the innovation needs of the region’s manufacturers to help them compete on the global market.

Concurrently, SDG is assisting the region with an application to be one of 12 federally-designated Manufacturing Communities as part of the IMCP’s second phase, which will position the Innovation Hub for additional recognition and funding opportunities.

Mr. Hunt also spoke about the recent federal grant to University of Illinois Chicago Lab under the President's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.  Though the grant was received by the University of Illinois, it includes partnerships with many Quad Cities Institutions including the Quad City Manufacturing Lab, John Deere, and others.  This larger federal award to conduct research related to digital manufacturing will likely help the region with its M3 Innovation Hub plan and Manufacturing Communities designation.