USC Price School of Public Policy

Economic Development:

LA lands access to $1.3 billion for manufacturing thanks to USC-LA effort

May 29, 2014

Center for Economic Development Executive Director Leonard Mitchell addresses members of the media about the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California. (Photo by Gus Ruelas)

By Merrill Balassone

A joint effort between the city of Los Angeles and USC successfully secured a federal designation giving the region preferential access to $1.3 billion in government funding for local aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.

USC President C. L. Max Nikias and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the designation on May 28 at a press conference at Exposition Park. The White House also made the announcement on May 28.

Southern California was one of only 12 regions designated as “Manufacturing Communities,” selected from among 70 communities nationwide based on the strength of their economic plans, the potential for impact in their communities and the depths of their partnerships across the public and private sectors.

LA’s halcyon days as an engineering hub

“The Manufacturing Community designation has profound implications for Southern California, especially in aerospace and defense,” Nikias said. “For the past 50 years, USC has enjoyed very close ties with these industries and has educated some of the brightest talent in their ranks.

“This is why it gives me such great pride that the USC Center for Economic Development, as lead co-applicant with the city of Los Angeles, will be empowered to play a pivotal role in creating jobs and reclaiming the region’s positioning as a leading hub of engineering and manufacturing.”

Garcetti and the USC Price School of Public Policy’s Center for Economic Development led the effort to compete for the designation. The resulting partnership, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California, brought together aerospace businesses, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, community colleges and universities, and government entities from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties.

“My top priority is to leave the recession in the rearview mirror by making sure Los Angeles is ready for the jobs and industries of tomorrow,” Garcetti told a crowd gathered outside the California Science Center for a press conference. “We’ve been aggressive — today’s announcement is the result of us being loud and clear in Washington that we’re serious about investing in jobs here in California.”

A history of partnering for LA

Garcetti acknowledged the news as “our second victory together,” after President Barack Obama in January designated Los Angeles as a “Promise Zone,” with USC Price tapped to evaluate the effectiveness of up to $500 million in federal spending in the area.

“It’s a very great day, I’m glad we won,” said Leonard Mitchell, executive director of the USC Center for Economic Development at USC Price. “Now we can really get on with the work that will be beneficial to the southern region of California and in fact, the whole state of California.”

Dion Jackson MRED ’98 of the USC Center for Economic Development said the partnership makes this region “uniquely competitive” by bringing together the design capacity of gaming and film with the engineering capacity of manufacturing and academia.

“We are training the next generation of economic developers for this entire region to value manufacturing and understand its role in a sustainable economy,” Jackson said. “We’re creating jobs and creating enthusiasm among young people to take these jobs and to become manufacturers and to understand that they’re going to be creating solutions for our future.”

In addition, the announcement received significant media coverage, including articles in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Business Journal, and KPCC-FM Southern California Public Radio.

This announcement is the second recent accomplishment in the Price School’s collaborative partnerships with the City of Los Angeles. In January, President Barack Obama designated L.A. as a “Promise Zone,” with the Price School selected to evaluate the effectiveness of federal spending in the area.