Connecticut's Manufacturing Innovation Fund has invested $71.9 million in the sector since 2015, assisting more than 2,000 companies and creating or retaining 17,784 jobs in the state.
That funding drives significant investment from the private sector and third parties, generating $1.70 in additional expenditures for every dollar distributed by the fund.
MIF programs also trained more than 25,300 workers and engaged with almost 18,000 students across the state.
Those findings are included in the just-released 2020 Manufacturing Innovation Fund Report, detailing the fund's impact since it was approved by the legislature in 2014.
"MIF-supported programs have enabled companies to upgrade their equipment and processes, provided technical training for existing workers, funded apprenticeships for early-career employees, helped companies reduce their energy costs, and encouraged young people to consider rewarding career opportunities in manufacturing," Colin Cooper, the state's chief manufacturing officer, wrote in the report.
"It’s clear that the support the MIF provides remains essential. We need to continue to prime our manufacturing talent pipeline.
"We need to redouble efforts to upskill our workforce so we can capitalize on the innovations revolutionizing manufacturing processes.
"And we need to provide more catalyst capital to incentivize smaller manufacturers to invest in next-generation manufacturing technology."
Cooper also noted that the fund helped address the COVID-19 pandemic, providing $1.3 million for manufacturers to retool production lines to make personal protective equipment and other critically needed medical supplies and equipment.
Workforce development accounts for about 36% of all MIF funding, including $11 million for apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs and $15 million for incumbent worker training.
Since 2014, the $26.3 million invested by the MIF in all workforce programs sparked an additional $29.2 million investment from companies and other third parties.
The report says 81% of companies that participated in training programs reported an upgrade in skills while 63% saw significant productivity gains.
The Manufacturing Voucher Fund is one of the MIF's best utilized initiatives, providing $21.6 million in matching grants for investments in equipment, training, R&D, and marketing.
The 587 companies that accessed those grants over the last six years invested an additional $64.9 million—a three-to-one funding ratio.
The MIF has also invested $8.1 million in distressed Connecticut communities to spur economic revitalization, job growth, and employment opportunities.
CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima, a member of the MIF's board of directors, noted the fund has now committed almost $72 million of the $75 million originally allocated by the state legislature.
"It is vital that the General Assembly allocate additional dollars to the Manufacturing Innovation Fund," he said.
"As the report shows, the fund has unlocked over a hundred million dollars in additional private sector investment to support the initiatives it is funding.
"These critical investments make Connecticut’s manufacturing sector more globally competitive and continue to generate significant returns for the sector and the state’s overall economy."