WSU receives renewed Department of Commerce 'manufacturing community' designation

September 27, 2016

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced today that south Kansas was redesignated as a “manufacturing community,” which allows the region to continue to receive elevated consideration for funding available from the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP).

South Kansas is one of 12 regions to receive the redesignation as an IMCP community. The proposal was submitted by WSU Ventures at Wichita State University, in partnership with local government, industry, economic development organizations and other community groups.

“These IMCP-designated communities are doing their part to develop comprehensive strategies to strengthen the local manufacturing sector and to attract business investment that makes our nation more globally competitive,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker .

“Manufacturers’ ability to innovate, to make and to sell to the world is critical to local economies and our nation’s economy, said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

The south Kansas region reapplied for the designation earlier this year. The Department of Commerce stated that the renewal application showed “tremendous strength” and praised the region’s comprehensive economic development strategy plan, which includes WSU’s Innovation Campus and the South Central Kansas Blueprint for Regional Economic Growth.

South Kansas: Prime Manufacturing Region

The IMCP program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.

Since its designation, the south Kansas region has received seven awards totaling more than $11 million, which include awards to WSU and Pittsburgh State University to fund programs that will benefit the entire region and the state.

South Kansas’ plan involves the accelerated insertion of advanced materials and automation in to the production process by bringing together large and small business, defense contractors, research entities, university researchers, students, support organizations and government agencies to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant advanced manufacturing technologies.

The Brookings Institute identifies south Kansas as “the most manufacturing-specialized” region in the United States, with more than 30 percent of the region’s jobs in the manufacturing sector.

The national IMCP competition was launched in December 2013. Since 2013, the EDA has invested nearly $23 million to support 49 IMCP projects and applicants across 26 states. These projects anticipate creating or saving more than 1,080 jobs and generating nearly $855 million in private investment.

For more information on IMCP, go to

Contact: Debra Franklin, director of strategic university initiatives, 316-978-5209 or