Manufacturing Grows Communities

St. Louis Region Gains Manufacturing Focus

Scott Dieckgraefe Insight

The manufacturing sector is often overlooked in terms of the value it provides to the economy, the security it provides to our country, and for the well-paying careers it supports. It’s simply not as glamorous for the local business news media to cover as bioscience or consumer tech.

Yet manufacturing has recently taken a renewed emphasis in the St. Louis area, providing hope that the region is coming to realize the many benefits of a strong manufacturing sector. And even better than generating news coverage, concrete actions are being taken to grow manufacturing in our region.

Much of the good news is coming from Greater St. Louis, Inc. (full disclosure, Studio/D is an investing member), with Missouri and Illinois state governments stepping up as well. If you’ve been keeping up on the regional manufacturing news, here’s what you’ve recently seen…


St. Louis Wins $25 Million Federal “Build Back Better” Grant

Greater St. Louis, Inc. spearheaded this submission on behalf of the St. Louis metro region with the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, earning $25Mil in federal grants, which combines with $16.3M in local matching funds to develop the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center in North St. Louis.

With only 20 grants being awarded to the pool of 529 nation-wide applicants, this highly competitive grant recognized the economic impact the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center will have in our region.

Boeing Invests $5Mil in the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center

The STL 2030 Jobs Plan recommended an aggressive strategy to align the region with three growing industries – geospatial technology, biosciences, and advanced manufacturing. Boeing’s investment demonstrates their commitment to growing the manufacturing sector in our region.


Missouri Department of Economic Development Provides Workforce Training Grants

This Missouri state-wide program administers grants of $50k – $4mil for workforce training. As noted in their application guidelines, the funding is to, “recruit and train individuals who are seeking a job that provides better opportunity for economic advancement.” These efforts are to include recruitment and training to eligible individuals, to provide pre-employment training and screening, to provide job training specific to the needs of a company, and to provide short term support to assist with childcare expenses and transportation if needed. Kudos to the lawmakers in Jefferson City for this support.

Illinois Works – Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Sounding similar to the Missouri Workforce Training Grants, this program provides grants to Illinois-based community organizations that recruit, prescreen and provide pre-apprenticeship skills training. Grants will range from $200k – $550k.

It’s exciting that the manufacturing sector is receiving news media support for its economic, security, and career opportunities. With the new programs to help manufacturers ramp up their recruitment and training programs, now is the time to prepare for tomorrow’s manufacturing and skilled trade workforce needs.

Studio/D is a full-service marketing communications firm working with mid-market industrial and manufacturing clients, together with companies that support the manufacturing ecosystem. We’re a team of “makers” who simplify complex communication challenges with messaging that engages and drives results. Learn more about us at, or call our president, Scott Dieckgraefe at 314-200-2630.


Postscript: You may recall that Studio/D supported the St. Louis Community College’s 2021 Prop R for its promise of new training opportunities for manufacturing and skilled trades. More than a year after the proposition passed, construction of new campus buildings has been widely announced (while other buildings are seemingly underutilized), yet specific new training and coursework for skilled trades and manufacturing opportunities have not been announced.

With growing momentum from other private and public entities, we encourage the community college system to quickly follow-through with the training programs they promised. Their chancellor, Dr. Pittman, can be reached at: