Lake County Partners manufacturing community designation Chicago metro metal consortium exports streamlined truck permitting

Manufacturing Community Designation

Growing Our Regional Economy

The elected leadership of the seven counties of Northeast Illinois and the City of Chicago is collaborating to explore opportunities to promote a stronger regional economy. These meeting forums have brought together representatives from the public and private sectors to build momentum for initiatives that foster regional cooperation and economic growth. Outcomes from the meetings include: The Chicago Metro Metal Consortium, the Metro Chicago Exports Initiative, and the streamlining of truck permitting in the region.  

Chicago Metro Metal Consortium 

The Chicago Metro Metal Consortium (CMMC) is one of just 12 regions in the U.S. to be designated a "Manufacturing Community" by the U.S. Department of Commerce through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) —an initiative intended to support job creation and accelerate growth in the manufacturing sector. Through IMCP, 11 federal agencies and programs with over $1.3 billion in federal economic development assistance will coordinate efforts to support the strategies developed by each of the 12 designated communities. More than 70 applications were submitted for the designation and each was evaluated based on strengths, opportunities and possible long-term impacts on job creation. Lake County Partners is proud to have participated in the Chicago Metro Region’s application process along with other local leaders in the area, and we look forward to continued collaboration and meaningful economic development dialogue with these partners. 

CMMC represents an unprecedented collaboration of more than 60 partners, including the seven counties of northeastern Illinois and the City of Chicago, and focuses on three metal sectors: Steel Product Manufacturing, Fabricated Metal Products, and Machinery Manufacturing. The Chicago region is one of the nation’s leading manufacturing centers and transportation supply networks. With more than 3,700 firms, $30 billion in annual revenues, and 100,000 employees, metal manufacturers in the region are an important economic driver. Building on these strengths, the CMMC is helping to build a world\class cluster for metal fabricating. Planned initiatives include:

• Addressing regional gaps in workforce and training by promoting metal manufacturing careers and strengthening connections among the region’s employers, training providers, and workforce.  

• Increasing heavy machinery/production technology exports by making connections to regional services, providing opportunities for peer learning, and reducing costs to enter the export market.

• Accelerating process innovation by working to identify 'open innovation’ strategies in metal manufacturing and engaging SMEs in applied research to increase competitive advantage.

• Improving the regional supply chain by hosting 'manufacturer matchmaking’ events that connect metal manufacturers and a variety of end users.

• Identifying and supporting transportation and infrastructure projects to facilitate worker access to manufacturing jobs and contribute to the region’s economic competitiveness.  

• Improving business operations and sustainability by increasing access to capital. 

Metro Chicago Exports

The goal of Metro Chicago Exports is to increase exports from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and support regional job growth. The Chicago region ranks third among U.S. metropolitan areas in total export volume ($56 billion in 2010), and there is a major opportunity to expand the existing export base to meet rising demand in emerging markets. The Metro Chicago Exports program is based on supporting three key objectives:

• Create Targeted Export Pipelines - Increase exports and exporters through targeted pipelines and rigorous analytics

• Strengthen the Network - Enhance the export ecosystem through coordination of services, firms and strategic marketing

• Reduce Costs - Provide export promotion grants for small and medium sized enterprises

Streamlined Truck Permitting 

Several stakeholders were invited to join with the multi-county jurisdictions to organize a steering committee and discuss the development of a program to undertake a streamlined overweight/oversize truck permitting initiative in the region. In connection with this initiative and on behalf of the participating counties, Cook County applied for and received a planning grant from CMAP to analyze opportunities for streamlined truck permitting in the region, and this project is ongoing.


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