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Manufacturing is evolving rapidly as digital control, sensing and automation are integrated into every process. The San Francisco Bay Area is rich in industrial commons and well placed to take advantage of this evolution due to its history as a center for high technology manufacturing and manufacturing innovation.

However, it is clear that the greatest potential to create more entry-level and middle-class manufacturing jobs across the region will only be realized if a well defined and interconnected regional manufacturing ecosystem is developed. To achieve the greatest benefit, the region must connect city economic development organizations, regional intermediaries, product incubators and established manufacturers to solve market failures within the manufacturing sector: small business support, workforce development, and industrial land use.

This is why SFMade has partnered with the cities and mayors of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and Fremont to mobilize a three-year Bay Area wide manufacturing initiative called the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is to remedy those issues that have not been, or cannot be, solved by industry. It will bring together a coalition of city governments and regional stakeholders from the manufacturing, education, and non-profit communities to meet specific, concrete goals. The identified goals will be of shared interest and critical to the continued health of the manufacturing sector but will also be those left unsolved by the sector itself.

The regional initiative is an expansion of work SFMade already does through the annual State of Local Manufacturing survey and report and will build off of its existing relationships. In 2011, SFMade launched the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA), a national manufacturing initiative now supporting 72 U.S. cities including Fremont, Oakland, and San Francisco. Through the UMA, SFMade has demonstrated its prowess as a convener and organizer of disparate constituencies nationally and in the Bay Area.

The Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative will be kicked off at the Bay Area Summit on Urban Manufacturing on November 17. It is not too late to get involved work with us to create a more robust and diverse local economy!