Senator, others promote federal loan program to boost manufacturing, jobs
EAST GREENBUSH — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand went to a Rensselaer County maker of materials analysis equipment Monday to tout an idea for a new federal low-interest loan program to promote more manufacturing in the U.S.
During a news conference at XOS, Gillibrand said she was introducing what she calls the Made in America Manufacturing Act, which would encourage states and regional public-private partnerships to compete for up to $20 million in funds for each state or regional manufacturing hub.
It was the second time in less than a month that Gillibrand announced her bill; on Feb. 1, she was joined by officials in the lower Hudson Valley at a news conference in Yonkers on the bill.
This time, the senator was joined by U.S. Rep. Paul D. Tonko, an Amsterdam Democrat, as she said funding such a program through the Commerce and Labor departments would “spark more growth in manufacturing sectors, jump-start new businesses, and create good-paying jobs.”
The act would provide federal funding to:
Set up a revolving loan fund for manufacturers to start or expand operations. Funds could only be used to promote domestic manufacturing, not overseas operations.
Create job training programs with community colleges, vocational education programs and job training providers. No more than half of any loan could be spent on job training.
Provide capital and technical assistance to boost exporting opportunities for manufacturers.
In order to get federal support, so-called “partnership boards” would have to be formed and include county and local governments, small and large manufacturers, labor organizations, higher education institutions, workforce training centers and local chambers of commerce.