WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded an announcement by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that the Southwest Ohio Aerospace Regional – SOAR – project has been named one of twelve initial manufacturing communities. The SOAR project is supported by the City of Dayton and the City of Cincinnati as a way to spur aerospace manufacturing in the region.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Southwest Ohio,” Brown said. “This designation by the EDA will help local officials attract new business opportunities while accelerating growth among existing manufacturers. SOAR combines the aviation history of Dayton with aeronautical engineering legacy of Cincinnati, helping attract new jobs to Southwest Ohio and increase the overall viability of the aerospace industry in the state.”

The SOAR project is one of twelve communities named today by the Commerce Department as part of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative.  SOAR was selected out of a group of 70 communities that applied and was selected based a competitive list of criteria that included the strength of their proposal, impact to the community, and use of regional collaboration in the project. Communities will receive support for achieving their economic development plans from eleven federal agencies that have $1.3 billion available in federal economic development assistance. Additionally, SOAR will be recognized on federal government websites, helping expand its visibility to both domestic and international investors.

In March, Brown sent a letter to the U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA) urging strong consideration for the proposal. In his letter, Brown noted the economic impact of the proposal which would support aerospace manufacturing jobs and innovation in 27 Ohio counties. Brown also emphasized the regional collaboration of the project, pointing to the partnerships between Dayton and Cincinnati officials and economic development organizations like the Dayton Development Coalition and Cincinnati USA.

Described as “Congress' reading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown—a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus—has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at bolstering the competiveness of U.S. manufacturers and boosting domestic manufacturing – include that in the aerospace industry. 

Brown and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI) would establish a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and create thousands of high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs while enhancing the United States’ role as the world’s leader in advanced manufacturing. RAMI would bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and all levels of government, to accelerate manufacturing innovation in technologies with commercial applications. These public-private institutes would leverage resources to bridge the gap between basic research and product development. 

In 2012, Brown joined Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor and Lisa Novelli, President of the National Composite Center (NCC), to announce the establishment of a new aerospace research and development consortium. The five-year agreement focuses on strengthening Ohio’s aerospace industry and boosting economic development throughout the state. In 2009 and 2010, Sen. Brown and Airbus Americas worked with the Ohio Edison Technology Centers and the Ohio Aerospace Institute to organize three procurement conferences that connected more than 800 Ohio businesses and participants with opportunities to break into the Airbus supply chain. The summits were designed to identify new contract opportunities, educate Ohio aerospace suppliers about the procurement process, and enable Ohio companies to meet one-on-one with representatives from Airbus and its Tier 1 suppliers.