UMA’s March Newsletter

Happy Almost Spring!

Just over two months into 2021 and we’re thrilled to share some early-year partnerships with our community, supporting the great work happening across our network.

First, in 2020 UMA partnered with MaiiC in New York and Design Core Detroit to host two virtual Design Jams. Today we are releasing our 2020 Design Jam Report, sharing highlights of the events, our development process, and why UMA and collaborators are promoting new product development strategies that bring together multiple stakeholders in new ways. UMA is now working on plans for more Design Jams in 2021 and 2022!

Next, UMA is proud to be a member of “Team Re,” one of ten finalists (chosen out of 118 applicants!) for the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling competition. Led by Shimmy, and working with SPESA and USC Games, Team Re is designing a solution to help unemployed Americans access training and find work as we come out of crisis and rebuild a manufacturing workforce. Stay tuned for more updates as we launch our solution.

This newsletter includes news about a grant for up and coming designers. It also has takeaways from two recent Industry & Inclusion discussions and info to register for our last Industry and Inclusion Webinar, “Partnering to Build Race-Conscious Advanced Manufacturing Training Programs.” And don’t miss what we’re reading.

March is also Women’s History Month. While we believe that women and people of color should be recognized every single day, we want to celebrate the accomplishments of these often forgotten contributors in manufacturing. Also, check out organizations such as Women In Manufacturing, the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology, and Science, and Daughters of Rosie. And how two of our Local Branding Community of Practice members, Made in Baltimore and Made in NYC, feature their local, women-owned manufacturing companies.

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

2020 Design Jams

UMA is excited to share our Design Jam 2020 Report! The report provides an overview of the Design Jam process that UMA, teenyBig, Design Core Detroit, College for Creative Studies, Pratt Center for Community Development, and Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Council (MaiiC) went through to host two, three hour virtual Design Jams with over 50 participants each. The report also provides a brief history of the divide between the design and manufacturing communities and outlines UMA’s collaborative product development strategies to bridge the gap. We have also begun to track the outcomes of these events which range from helping manufacturers find more opportunities to advise product designers, influencing design students and how they get feedback about their designs, and inspiring design teachers to bring multiple stakeholders together in the classroom.

Special thanks to all our local partners and participants in Detroit, New York, and across the country! These events were sponsored by Square and Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses, with support provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Check out the full report and let us know if you want to bring a Design Jam to your town or city!

Industry & Inclusion

UMA, in partnership with The Century Foundation, hosted two webinars this past winter as part of our Industry & Inclusion program. In our “DEI, Technology, and Credentials” webinar, I&I Cohort and Advisory Board members gathered to discuss the strategies needed to build an advanced manufacturing workforce. The panelists talked about the need to increase diversity and the challenges women and communities of color face while accessing education and training programs. The group also discussed how manufacturers and workforce development organizations could ensure that workers possess the necessary foundational and digital skills required for projected jobs and leverage new technologies to attract untapped talent. Check out our key takeaways to learn more about how increasing diversity can reduce the skills shortage in manufacturing and other technology fields, how fundamental training is not just about hard skills, and that training is not only for production workers.

During our “Advancing Equity and Inclusion in Manufacturing Credentialing” webinar, Jacqui Mieksztyn, Talent Strategist at LIFT in Detroit; Lizabeth Stuck, Head of Engagement and Workforce Development at MxD in Chicago; Dr. Keenan Grenell, Executive Director of the Manufacturing Diversity Institute (MDI) and President & CEO of the Grenell Group, LLC; Montez King, Executive Director of NIMS discussed questions such as: How can manufacturing corporations, government, and communities join the drive to create equitable economies? How can they solve the recruitment challenge? How can they leverage advances in technology to create more inclusive practices? How can they address the disparities in access to manufacturing careers? Read our key takeaways here.

Events Calendar

March 22, 2021–2:30pmET
UMA Online Event
Register to Attend

“Partnering to Build Race-Conscious Advanced Manufacturing Training Programs”

The future of the U.S.’s industrial sector relies on finding a new generation of workers to replace a rapidly aging one — estimates have told us that an additional 2.4 million manufacturing workers are needed in the next decade. Further, these new workers will have to be skilled at managing the technologies that are radically changing how we manufacture. To achieve these goals, manufacturing will need to take on the challenge of incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into how it composes its workforce.

In UMA and The Century Foundation’s final webinar of our Industry & Inclusion cohort program, we will explore the innovative partnerships that our participating workforce training organizations have forged with unlikely entities in their communities. These partners build relationships with community partners, form trust, and create new opportunities for neighborhood residents and manufacturers, alike. Our presenters will discuss the partnerships they’ve formed, the strategies behind them, and the outcomes that demonstrate their power.

Register to attend.

April 12–18, 2021
Online Marketplace
Free to attend + American CraftCouncil
Members get early access!

Baltimore Craft Week

Our friends at at the American CraftCouncil are hosting an online marketplace, Baltimore Craft Week, happening April 12–18. Shop handmade items by artists from across the country who are creating work that reflects the diversity of contemporary craft. ACC has designed Craft Week to be an immersive platform where you can discover new artists and see what goes into their work.

Don’t miss out on early access! ACC members shop before the public! They also receive a subscription to “American Craft” magazine and help fund a range of nonprofit programs that support craft

Visit Baltimore Craft Week to learn more.

News from the Community

NYCxDESIGN’s Breakout Grant for Independent Design

“In a city filled with world-renowned design leaders, all five boroughs are populated with smaller workshops of talented independent designers who make up the fabric of New York City design. In that vein, NYCxDESIGN is initiating The Breakout Grant.

NYCxDESIGN supports the independent designers and design businesses who continuously create and innovate to make New York the design capital of the world. To promote entrepreneurship in design, NYCxDESIGN provides an annual grant for local independent talent and businesses to turn their next great idea into reality. The Breakout Grant will seek to fund independent designers or design businesses that embody the entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative spirit of NYC, with a foundational commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability.

In May 2021, NYCxDESIGN will give three local independent designers or design businesses grants to go to market with a new product or project that is in late-stage development and can show demonstrated viability.

One $15,000 grant will be awarded to support a career-making moment. Two additional grants will be given at $5,000 to support continued project growth.” Find full grant details at NYCxDesign.

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 Bakery That’s Owned by an Idea
By: Oscar Perry Abello
February, 2021

“Firebrand Artisan Breads started in 2008, with just four employees in a West Oakland warehouse, baking bread and pastries in a wood-fired brick oven. In 2017, Firebrand moved to a new, larger facility, jumping overnight from a dozen to 55 employees. It now has its own cafe and hundreds of retail partners across the Bay Area, from local coffee shops and delis to four Whole Foods locations. It’s going to be another big year for Firebrand, which is building out a new, larger wood-fired brick oven bakery in Alameda. At least 40 more employees will join the company once it’s up and running as expected in April.

Firebrand worked with outside advisors and lawyers to incorporate something called a perpetual purpose trust to serve as a new parent company, with the owner donating 51 percent of his voting shares to the trust to hold in perpetuity. The governing body of the trust is a stewardship committee, consisting of the original owner, Firebrand employees and external community members who work on issues affecting Firebrand’s employees.”

Read the full article at
Next City

Revitalize American Manufacturing by Nurturing the Industrial Commons
By: Amanda Novello
April, 2018

“After a steep decline starting in the 1980s, manufacturers have added back more than a million jobs over the course of the economic recovery, and further revitalization has become a bipartisan priority with growing momentum. A critical component of future growth, popularized by Harvard Business professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih and written about by The Century Foundation, is to grow the “industrial commons.” The commons is a way to unify regional actors around their shared goals: increase research and development; improve skills and training opportunities; and strengthen connections between suppliers. No single company alone can provide these critical shared resources, and so the industrial commons fosters collaboration in order to increase access to them for everyone.”

Read the full article at
The Century Foundation

Support UMA

Help UMA by spreading the word about our work. Please share our newsletter and follow us on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and LinkedIn — and visit our website.

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!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Urban Mfg Alliance

Urban Mfg Alliance

The Urban Manufacturing Alliance is a partnership of organizations working to sustain and grow local manufacturing in cities.