Obama officials stop to tour Connecticut

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut once had a large manufacturing base, producing everything from brass in Waterbury, to carriages in New Haven, to guns in several parts of the state. As of lately the manufacturing here has changed and is more sophisticated, which caught the attention of the White House.

Last year, the federal government designated Connecticut for an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. Members of the Obama administration toured Pratt & Whitney’s East Hartford headquarters Friday to see for themselves, since there are only 24 ICMP designations so far.

“This was not a designation that was given. This was earned,” said Assistant Commerce Secretary Jay Williams. “Earned by this region because of collaboration. Earned by stakeholders that have come together.”

Connecticut earned the designation mostly because of advanced manufacturing done at places like Pratt & Whitney and Electric Boat.

“Innovation requires making stuff,” Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) said bluntly. “We need to continue to make things in this country. And there’s a skill set we lose if we don’t reinvest in American manufacturing.”

“And that’s really what IMCP is all about. Smarter federal investment, supporting local and regional strategies,” said Jason Miller, with the National Economic Council.

The federal designation is ultimately meant to spur private investment from both foreign and domestic investors. Recognizing that areas like Connecticut have the infrastructure, innovation, collaboration and workforce development programs to sustain future advanced manufacturing.

“With scarce resources, when we invest money in those communities, there’s a greater return on investment,” Williams said. “It also means at the end of the day this is about attracting private investment.”

The administration officials left Pratt & Whitney, headed for a tour of Electric Boat in Groton to end their trip across the state.

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