WASHINGTON — The Obama administration unveiled a $40 million initiative on Tuesday aimed at helping communities develop plans to encourage companies to make more of their products in America.
The U.S. Commerce and Labor Departments will fund the “Make It in America Challenge,” which is expected to award grants to 15 projects that commit to encourage “insourcing,” either through companies moving more offshore production back to the U.S.; fostering increased foreign direct investment, or providing incentives to U.S. companies to keep and expand their businesses in the U.S. There also must be a focus on developing programs to train local workers to meet expanded business needs.
While the initiative does not focus on particular industry sectors, it could have implications for textile and apparel manufacturers and retailers, all of which have shown an increasing interest in moving apparel sourcing back to the U.S. to offset rising labor costs in Asia, most notably in China. WWD Special Report: Made in America >>
“More and more businesses are choosing to invest, create jobs and make things here in America, and this new initiative represents the latest effort by the Obama administration to build on that trend,” said Rebecca Blank, acting Commerce Secretary. “This administration’s top priority is creating American jobs, and through the Make It in America Challenge we will be supporting business’ efforts to expand here at home. By making competitive investments, the Challenge will help communities across the U.S. accelerate economic growth, attract business investment, and create jobs.”
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the initiative “will provide comprehensive assistance to those companies and those communities committed to make it in America through innovative training programs that lead to industry-recognized credentials and arm our workforce with the skills employers want to see from Day One.”
An interagency panel will select winning applicants participating in the competition. The administration said in a fact sheet released Tuesday that successful projects will include plans to revitalize public works projects and expand and upgrade physical infrastructure; provide technical assistance to companies looking to invest in innovative technologies, new products or services or new processes to increase sales and jobs, and develop training and employment activities that support the local workforce needs of employers.
The government will publish a “Federal Funding Opportunity” by early 2013, which will provide a deadline and detailed guidelines for submitting an application.
In separate news on Tuesday, the White House, citing estimates that more than 20 million men, women and children around the globe are victims of human trafficking, issued a new executive order strengthening prohibitions against human trafficking in government contracting and expanding it to all federal contractors and subcontractors. The order also requires that contractors and subcontractors doing work abroad exceeding $500,000 to maintain compliance plans and employee awareness programs to report human trafficking violations.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye