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May 28, 2014 | Tom Ballard

DRIVE consortium wins important Department of Commerce designation

UT-teknoA consortium led by the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service (UT IPS) has been selected as one of the 12 grantees in the inaugural “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The announcement was made yesterday by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

According to the Department’s release, the overall program “is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.”

The “community” proposed by the UT IPS-led consortium is defined as the Tennessee Valley and includes large portions of the Volunteer State as well as selected counties in Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.

Operating under the acronym DRIVE, the “Drive for the Future Consortium” is focused on further accelerating the growth of the region’s large and robust automotive cluster. As noted in a recent post, automotive jobs account for more than a third of all manufacturing positions in Tennessee.

The DRIVE strategy focuses on workforce development and training, enhancement to the existing supplier networks, research and innovation, infrastructure and site development, trade and international investment, operational improvements, and access to capital.

Consortium members include UT’s Center for Industrial Services, a part of UT IPS; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the two public systems of higher education (UT and Tennessee Board of Regents); Pathway Lending; Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association; and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

For more information on the DRIVE consortium, click here. To read the Department’s announcement, click here.

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