By speaking with one voice and putting forth one collaborative proposal with input from across the bi-state St. Louis metro, the St. Louis region has succeeded in winning a $25 million highly competitive federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant. The grant will be used to develop the St. Louis region’s globally significant advanced manufacturing industry cluster, including the construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center (AMICSTL) in North St. Louis City.
“One voice with one plan led to a big win for St. Louis,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc., which is the formal applicant on behalf of the St. Louis metro, an effort it coordinated and spearheaded with the public-sector St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “We can’t say this enough: when the St. Louis metro works together and speaks with one voice, we succeed. Working together as a metro is working, and it is how we will win this next decade for St. Louis.”
The Greater St. Louis, Inc. proposal was one of only 21 selected to receive a grant, less than 4% of the original applicant pool of 529. In addition to the $25 million federal grant, $16.3 million in local matching funds will go toward the effort, bringing the total investment in the metro, to date, to $41.3 million.
Advanced Manufacturing & The St. Louis Regional Tech Triangle
The grant will be used to unlock the full potential of the region’s advanced manufacturing cluster, fueling its growth and contributing to the continued development of two of the metro’s next generation industries: bioscience and geospatial technology. These three sectors comprise the St. Louis Regional Tech Triangle, which will grow the regional economy through workforce development, community revitalization and locational equity, and innovation and entrepreneurship.
Advanced manufacturing and the Tech Triangle align with the strategic recommendations of St. Louis’ Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the STL 2030 Jobs Plan.
The centerpiece of St. Louis’ award-winning proposal is the construction and operation of AMICSTL. AMICSTL will bolster the region’s competitiveness and resiliency in advanced manufacturing and facilitate convergence of the advanced manufacturing sector with the other key industries in the region, including geospatial, bioscience, agtech, and aerospace.
“The money received from this grant will help establish the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center as the hub of the tech triangle. AMICSTL grew out of an initiative at St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and we are so proud that this premier advanced manufacturing facility will come to fruition through this unified effort,” said Rodney Crim, CEO and President of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.
Activities in prototyping, research and development, and workforce will help AMICSTL bridge the St. Louis region’s urban, suburban, and rural economies. It is anticipated that AMICSTL will become a globally recognized center for advanced manufacturing excellence.
“Uniting in support of AMICSTL is proof positive of how the St. Louis region succeeds when we work together,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Chair of AMICSTL and a member of the Chair’s Council of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “As a result of regional collaboration, St. Louis will now be home to a state-of-the-art facility and expandable campus that will drive diverse and equitable economic growth and elevate St. Louis as a global leader in advanced manufacturing and technological innovation. This one-of-a-kind manufacturing epicenter will enable talent development, leading-edge research and development, and prototyping and production capacity that uniquely span and connect multiple high-tech industries in the region – including the aerospace, agtech, automotive, biomedical, construction, energy, geospatial, and logistics sectors.”
Functioning as a “hub and spoke” model, the St. Louis Build Back Better partners will provide a central network for growing St. Louis’ advanced manufacturing innovation ecosystem by identifying and deploying next-generation technologies, supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in accelerating the transition from idea generation to prototyping and production, and developing a steady stream of qualified and diverse workers.
As the “hub” of the Build Back Better, AMICSTL will be a newly built innovation center located in disinvested North St. Louis City. AMICSTL will be a local asset with national impact – driving leading edge advanced manufacturing.
St. Louis Build Back Better partners and “spokes” focusing on inclusive workforce growth and training, innovation and entrepreneurship, community revitalization, and overall cluster development are Greater St Louis, Inc., St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, AMICSTL, Ranken Technical College, Rung for Women, Southwestern Illinois College, St. Louis Community College, BioSTL, Harris-Stowe State University, WEPOWER, Small Business Empowerment Center, Cortex Innovation Community, and the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Innovation Center (APIIC).
Metro-wide Collaboration Led to Big Win
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is part of the federal government’s plan to boost economic pandemic recovery and rebuild American communities, including some – like the North St. Louis communities that comprise much of the Tech Triangle – that have been grappling with decades of disinvestment further exacerbated by the pandemic.
Collaboration in support of the Greater St. Louis, Inc. proposal span the breadth of the 15-county bi-state St. Louis metro. In addition to direct Build Back Better partners mentioned above, they include: City of St. Louis, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, East Central College, Economic Development Council of St. Charles County, Entrepreneur Startup Business Development Corporation (dba Arch Grants), Gateway Global American Youth and Business Alliance, Jefferson College, Lewis and Clark Community College, Missouri AFL-CIO, St. Louis County, Saint Louis Public Schools, St. Charles Community College, St. Clair County, Illinois, St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, St. Louis Development Corporation, St. Louis Makes, Technology Entrepreneur Center, Inc., The Boeing Company and more.
“This was truly a collaborative, regionwide effort that will benefit communities across the entire St. Louis and Metro East area. We are proud to have been a part of the proposal,” said Southwestern Illinois College President Nick J. Mance. “With funding from this grant, the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy at SWIC will have the technology to recruit and train the manufacturing workforce of the future.”
The $25 million award will be distributed toward several projects that will help grow the advanced manufacturing regional economy, including:
(Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center & Ranken Tech)
Inclusive Cross-Cluster Economic Development: $3M
(Greater St. Louis, Inc. and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership)
Preparing Women for Advanced Manufacturing Careers: $1M
(Rung for Women)
Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy: $2.5M
(Southwestern Illinois College)
Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center: $3M
(St. Louis Community College)
Racial Equity in Innovation and Entrepreneurship: $7.5M
(BioSTL, Harris-Stowe, WEPOWER, Small Business Empowerment Center)
Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Innovation Center: $1M
- U.S. Department of Commerce press release announcing the winners.
- Greater St. Louis wins big federal grant to jump-start advanced manufacturing (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
- St. Louis region wins $25M federal grant for advanced manufacturing projects (St. Louis Business Journal)
- St. Louis region lands $25 million federal grant to bolster advanced manufacturing (St. Louis Public Radio)