Last week, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $70 million grant for a Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Institute (CESMII) to be headquartered in Los Angeles. More than 200 partners from academia, industry and non-profits, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, formed the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) and worked with UCLA and LA n Sync to successfully bring the headquarters of this project to Southern California.

The CESMII, the ninth institute awarded under the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes Initiative, is an industry-led non-profit organization headquartered here, with regional centers in Washington, New York and Texas. The goal of the institute is to spur advances in smart sensors and digital process controls that can improve the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing by reducing energy consumption and increasing workforce development opportunities. The $70 million in federal grants will be matched by an additional $70 million from private and state entities.

The Chamber was proud to host a forum last December with LA n Sync and the Mayor’s office to build local momentum for the highly competitive grant and shine a spotlight on the importance of manufacturing to L.A. Manufacturing in Southern California employs more than 800,000 jobs at 26,000 establishments.

The Chamber is also excited to be part of another coalition that kicked off last week, Make it in LA. The mission of this initiative is to serve as a central resource in supporting the local manufacturing eco-system by connecting thousands of manufacturers and suppliers. Through partnerships, online resources, and educational programs, Make it in LA will provide entrepreneurs with tools to grow their businesses and drive local manufacturing employment. Make it in LA sponsored a year-long study that surveyed 1,600 businesses, held CEO focus groups at the Chamber and conducted conversations with experts in the field. You can check out the results of the study here.

Initiatives like the CESMII and Make it in LA will enhance L.A.’s status as the largest manufacturing hub in the country. Our ports, logistics sector, world-class educational institutions and spirit of entrepreneurship make our region a natural home for the manufacturing industry. The forward motion of these initiatives brings together broad collaborations of individuals, companies and institutions that recognize the value of manufacturing to our economy and quality of life.