A federal agency will continue to offer technical and financial assistant to greater Portland to help it develop its food processing and manufacturing capacity.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced Tuesday that 12 communities will be redesignated as Manufacturing Communities as a part of its Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership initiative until 2018. The communities were all initially designated under the first round of the IMCP competition in 2014.

The renewal means greater Portland will be able to receive continued support from 12 federal agencies for economic development assistance, technical assistance and matched/cluster funding from private entities.

The region won recognition as a Manufacturing Community based on the growth and planned expansion of its food production. According to the application prepared by the Greater Portland Council of Governments, greater Portland has 60 business that employ 1,800 people in food manufacturing, which represents 31 percent of the state’s food manufacturing employment.

“As part of this strategy, the region will expand support for food processing startups, redevelop brownfields, leverage a growing renewable energy sector and utilize technology to more efficiently connect farms with processors and processors with markets to reduce food waste,” according to the Commerce Department summary of the Maine project.

The Commerce program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing 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.

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