Urban Manufacturing Alliance hosted national conference in Milwaukee, co-hosted by Menomonee Valley Partners

Gathering focuses on building new narratives for manufacturing

From June 5 – 7, Milwaukee hosted the Urban Manufacturing Alliance’s (UMA) national gathering. The event brought more than 130 civic leaders, manufacturers, and workforce and real estate practitioners to Milwaukee to discuss issues, including workforce development, youth engagement, innovative financing, and land use policy and redevelopment.

“Milwaukee is proud to host the Urban Manufacturing Alliance this year,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “From our days as the ‘Machine Shop of the World’ to our current success stories – from the transformation of the Menomonee River Valley, to Komatsu’s move to the Harbor, one of the largest urban manufacturing investments in the nation in decades, to Havenwoods leadership in our Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative – Milwaukee has a strong story to share.”

The manufacturing sector provides family-sustaining wages and, through training partnerships, can lift individuals into long-term career paths. However, for many people manufacturing careers still carry a stigma – dirty and dangerous – that is far from today’s reality. Therefore, the theme of this event, Building New Narratives for Manufacturing, focused on helping manufacturers, civic leaders, and other practitioners in their efforts to change the perceptions about the opportunities manufacturing offers cities and their residents.

 “UMA brings together organizations and individuals that are building manufacturing economies fit for the 21st century. Our collective goal is to create pathways to middle-class jobs, spark homegrown innovation and ensure that cities and towns continue to be the places where we make things,” said Lee Wellington, Executive Director of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance. “In Milwaukee, we released our National State of Urban Manufacturing Report, which analyzed recent shifts in urban manufacturing to help us build strong maker / manufacturer ecosystems in cities, and we learned from each other how other cities are leveraging the potential of urban manufacturing to create equitable and inclusive economic development in cities.”

 The three-day event was hosted by Menomonee Valley Partners, in partnership with the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee’s six other industrial business improvement districts: 30th Street Corridor, Gateway to Milwaukee, Granville, Harbor District, Havenwoods, and Riverworks.

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