July 2021 Newsletter

Urban Mfg Alliance
7 min readJul 21, 2021



Last month UMA released two big reports: our first federal policy agenda and our Industry & Inclusion 4.0 project report. Over the next few months we will be showcasing our individual I&I cohort members to give everyone an opportunity to learn more about their amazing work. We have created individual profiles in order to highlight their successes and to outline ways to replicate their work in other cities and towns. This month we are highlighting Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) and Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT).

Also last month, The Century Foundation published the Industry and Inclusion Blueprint for Action outlining recommendations for policy makers as well as community and industry leaders on how to create strategies for education and training that fits the needs of twenty-first-century manufacturing . TCF in partnership with Groundwork Collaborative, and Urban Manufacturing Alliance, also hosted a half day conference: What Do Trade and Manufacturing Have to Do with Racial Justice? The conference brought together a broad range of stakeholders to explore the central role that a progressive trade and manufacturing policy can have in advancing racial justice issues and creating a sustainable and equitable economy. Check out recordings of the discussions here!

We are looking forward to sharing new news with you as the summer progresses. There are many new projects and conversations happening, stay tuned!

Thank you, as always, for being a part of the movement to grow more equitable economies through manufacturing. If you have news you would like to share with the UMA community please send us a message and let us know what you are working on!

In partnership,
The UMA Team

Research and Programming News

As part of the Industry & Inclusion 4.0 Project, UMA interviewed cohort members and their partners to gather background information and details about how they create and deliver programs. From these discussions UMA generated Organizational Profiles for each of the eight cohort members which include a technical description — a snapshot of each workforce development organization — and personal profiles — stakeholder interviews which provide a deeper understanding of the relationships that exist between the workforce development organization and the communities and employers they serve.

Below are excerpts from two of our cohort member profiles. You can find all the profiles on our website!

Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC) serves both sides of the workforce development community: the employers and the workers. The Careers in Manufacturing Programs (CMP) was created to help any individual, regardless of their skill set, prepare for and gain a job in manufacturing. The Business and Workforce Services (BWS) program offers employer partners customized, on-site training to upskill incumbent workers. Both programs tap into JARC’s dedicated staff of adult learner educators, coaches, and technical trainers.

JARC was founded to keep manufacturing and industrial middle income jobs in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor of Chicago. Their earliest strategies focused on purchasing and operating commercial space for industrial use. JARC grew and implemented new strategies as more research and increased interactions with manufacturers pointed to the need for upskilling incumbent workers.

Over the last decade JARC has developed a strong mix of strategies and innovations. This is the first key to success identified by Guy Loudon, Executive Vice President and former President of JARC. As an example, the Careers Manufacturing Program blends shop floor learning, simulated to model a work environment; trainers who promote peer learning, teamwork, and leadership development; project-based learning; a curriculum in line with credentials from NIMS or AWS; open entry/open exit enrollment and graduation; and the Bridge Training Program for working families. These elements are brought together in such a way that employers consistently tell JARC their trainees are prepared above and beyond the standards set by other workforce development organizations.

Read the full JARC profile here!

For Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) to succeed in developing workforce training they knew from the beginning that it had to look differently. Their goal was to work with partners in the region to do something innovative, rather than parachuting in with the new solution. In their first years, LIFT worked with over 150 stakeholders across five states to pilot 40 programs. The ongoing relationship with local industry partners, members of LIFT, and technology developers helps to make sure the curriculum and skill development is in line with what is needed for immediate job placement and lasting success.

Since its founding in 2014, LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national Manufacturing USA Innovation Institute, has invested in more than 40 replicable and scalable education and workforce development initiatives. All programs were focused on developing an advanced manufacturing talent pipeline and have been deployed, tested, and refined throughout the Midwest region. The focus on workforce was one of the original tasks defined on day one of LIFT opening its doors. LIFT was one of the first three National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes formed. In the seven years LIFT has been operating, they have been able to organize and work with over partners and industry stakeholders to inform the development of IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing, a three year program, to introduce students to technologies, concepts, and processes that are necessary for a successful career in manufacturing today and into the future.

Read the full LIFT profile here!


Thursday, Jul 15, 2021 | 10:00 AM EDT — 12:00 PM EDT
Online Panel Discussion

Can the Biden administration improve the manufacturing sector?
Tenth annual John Hazen White Forum on Public Policy

On July 15, Governance Studies at Brookings will host a webinar to discuss the current manufacturing landscape and manufacturing initiatives proposed by the Biden-Harris administration. Speakers will discuss challenges facing the U.S. manufacturing industry, opportunities to renew growth, and the future trajectory of the industry.

The event marks the tenth annual John Hazen White Forum on Public Policy, which convenes leaders from academia, business, and government to discuss and identify solutions to the United States’ most pressing challenges facing the manufacturing industry.

Click here to register!

News from the Community

Application to participate in this years Detroit Design Jam is open to anyone in the Detroit area!

Design Jam: Detroit 2021 — Adaptive Apparel & Accessories

Calling all manufactures, makers, limb loss community members, innovators, entrepreneurs, designers, students, problem solvers, design faculty, business coaches, recreational athletes, and outdoor enthusiasts!!! Come brainstorm and prototype new adaptive active apparel and accessories for people in the limb loss community.

This 2-part event will take place virtually on Friday, September 10 and in person on Saturday, September 11, as part of the 11th annual Detroit Month of Design. All appropriate safety protocols will be observed and enforced.

From the Makers and Mentors Network:

Citizen Schools, in partnership with community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, is recruiting for 2021–2022 Maker Fellows!

Maker Fellows connect K-12 students to maker-centered learning opportunities that help students build the academic and social emotional skills that are key to their success in school, post-secondary enrollment and workforce placement.

As a Maker Fellow, you’ll inspire academic and socioemotional growth that will lead to broader levels of innovation, economic competitiveness and equity for generations in the future. Maker Fellows will be placed with host sites across the country. To learn more about the initiative, please visit: makersandmentors.org/makerfellows.

Please share your news with us! If you have something you would like UMA and our network to know about, please contact Eva, UMA’s Community Leader to share details to include in next month’s newsletter.

What We’re Reading

The Impact of Trade on Black Workers
By: Grace Western, Daniella Zessoules, Nyanya Browne, Bethel Cole-Smith, & William Spriggs, PhD

“Over the last several decades, U.S. trade policies — captured by wealthy, corporate interests — have failed working people in the U.S. Trade policies undermined the U.S. response to the COVID-19 crisis, consistently failed to address climate change, and resulted in the outsourcing of millions of middle-class jobs to low-wage countries. It is clear that a new direction for trade policy is desperately needed. We need policies that center working people instead of corporate profit.

Important new research from William Spriggs, Nyanya Browne, and Bethel Cole-Smith of Howard University provides a deeper understanding of the impact of trade policy on Black workers. Specifically, the authors examine the impact of the rapid increase of import competition from China on U.S. commuting zone-level employment and earnings by race. They find that the trade shock resulting from rising import competition by China increased racial inequality for workers, as measured by the change in the share of Black employment and the Black hire rate. The authors assess impact in industries most exposed to trade (“exposed sector”) as well as non-exposed tradable industries (e.g. information and mining).”

Read the full report at:
The Groundwork Collaborative

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Since 2015, UMA has grown to encompass 900+ members in more than 200 cities — and counting. Whether you’re a city council member, an urban planner, the executive director of a kitchen incubator, or a small artisan jewelry maker, UMA’s goal is to design a network based on your feedback, expertise, and questions about the future of the industry. Your individual tax-deductible contribution will empower us to bring our members together to learn from one another (online and in person), to tell stories showing the value of manufacturing to a city’s economy, and to document and replicate promising practices with city-based partners. Make a donation today!



Urban Mfg Alliance

The Urban Manufacturing Alliance is national nonprofit organization focused on building a sustainable, inclusive urban manufacturing sector.