It is a common misconception that manufacturing is an outdated or dead industry. Manufacturing has changed to be sure. It looks different. Aspects of it are defined differently than 30, 20 even ten years ago.

But manufacturing, whether it’s medical equipment, energy, food and beverage manufacturing, and more, is flourishing and worthy of investment.

This week the federal government did just that. The White House and Commerce Department announced the first 12 communities designated by the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership.

Milwaukee is one of the 12.

What that means is eleven federal agencies with $1.3 billion in available economic developments funds will be able to invest in Milwaukee manufacturing enterprises. This is especially attractive given the Milwaukee region’s recent commitment to new water technologies as an economic development focus. It is also an important step toward rebuilding the middle class that has traditionally been one of Milwaukee’s great strengths.

Credit to the M7 regional economic development group for setting the stage for this welcome federal designation.