Minnesota-based Center to Help Communities, Businesses Seeking to Grow Clean Energy Manufacturing

The CEMC announces its expansion and highlights the work it will be doing with businesses and communities to grow clean energy.

MINNEAPOLIS (February 25, 2013) Building on the ever-increasing opportunity the clean energy economy presents to manufacturers in the U.S. — and the renewed national push from President Obama in his State of the Union Address to create, retain, and re-shore manufacturing jobs — the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation today is announcing the expansion of its Clean Energy Manufacturing Center (CEMC). The Center is a collaborative effort of like-minded members of the private and public sector supporting the growth of a vibrant, U.S. clean energy economy and includes the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The Center also includes private companies and two of America’s premier manufacturing unions, United Steelworkers and United Autoworkers.

The Center is a one-stop shop for communities, economic development groups and companies wanting to implement plans to spur manufacturing job creation. It offers a range of strategic management services to identify opportunities and develop and implement effective solutions. The Center has already aided companies in Tennessee, Illinois and West Virginia to diversify their businesses to include clean energy products.

“Building a clean energy economy that maximizes the skills of American workers is vital to our future both economically and environmentally and paramount to sustaining a vibrant middle-class,” said BlueGreen Alliance Foundation President David Foster. “This Clean Energy Manufacturing Center partnership will build on America’s existing manufacturing capacity and help cities, states and individual businesses move into the clean energy supply chain.”

Building on a co-operative agreement with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) that has already provided assistance to dozens of companies nationally and hosted clean energy manufacturing events in 17 states, CEMC provides technical assistance to companies, outreach services in the form of workshops and webinars, and research identifying emerging market opportunities for companies and communities, as well as workforce training.

“With the President, Minnesota’s Governor Dayton and other leaders prioritizing the manufacturing sector, this is a perfect time to expand this one-of-a-kind resource,” said Jacques Koppel, Director of the Center. “There are companies that can grow, cities that can attract new businesses, and skilled workers who can benefit from good, family-sustaining jobs. The Center will be a vital resource to help achieve those goals and we’re proud to announce the growth of this effort today.”

Jacques Koppel has been a recognized leader in the field of manufacturing extension for over 20 years. One of the original thought leaders that led to the creation of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Koppel has been involved with these issues at the state and national levels and from a public policy as well as implementation perspective. He created the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Industrial Resource Center manufacturing initiatives in 1988 and was CEO of Minnesota Technology, Inc., the state’s technology-based economic development quasi-public corporation from 1991 to 2003, which also managed Minnesota’s MEP Center.

Among his various board activities, Koppel was a founding board member of the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing (NACFAM), and he has chaired the National Governor’s Association Technology Council of the States.

More information on the Clean Energy Manufacturing Center, including a list of its upcoming webinars and other activities, can be found at www.thecemc.com.