Yesterday, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor announced the Make it in America Challenge -- a $40 million multi-agency competition that will help accelerate business investments in the U.S. This includes insourcing, where U.S.-based companies bring jobs back, or foreign investment, when foreign companies build factories here and hire American workers to run them.
The competition is being funded by Commerce's Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Labor's Employment and Training Administration. It builds upon the administration's efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs by partnering with state, regional, and local partners.
Beginning next year, three-year grants will be available to states, cities, nonprofits, colleges and economic development districts that develop plans to help attract companies that want to build in the U.S. but might need a few more resources.
Together, we're going to provide financial and technical support for communities to grow and expand local businesses and jobs here in the United States. We'll help communities make infrastructure improvements like building new roads to access under-used industrial sites. We will provide better technical assistance and information through our Manufacturing Extension Partnership. And we'll work with local communities to ensure they have a workforce with the skills employers want to see on day one, making them attractive manufacturing hubs.
This is going to be a coordinated, multi-agency effort to promote job creation and expand domestic production. The fact is, when we travel here and abroad, we are hearing from business owners that now is the right time to invest in America. It's the right time because with both foreign labor costs and international shipping costs on the rise, it makes sense for the company's bottom line. But it's also the right time because our workforce remains the most skilled and most dedicated there is. And the U.S. energy outlook has never been brighter, with growing supply and falling prices.
Already, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the U.S. has jumped from $144 billion in 2009 to $227 billion last year -- an increase of over 50 percent. The Commerce Department is working to build on that through efforts such as SelectUSA, which promotes investment in the U.S. in partnership with state and local economic development agencies.
In addition, to strengthen the trend toward insourcing by U.S. firms, the President has called on Congress to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and -- instead -- give relief to companies that bring jobs back.
Overall, efforts such as these are crucial because when a company builds a new factory in the U.S., the likelihood of jobs staying here long-term is very high. And that means a stronger American middle class for generations to come.
The world's business leaders -- both here and abroad -- are continuing to learn that there has never been a better time to invest in the United States, to build factories here, and to hire Americans to work in them.
Hilda Solis is the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Rebecca Blank is the Acting Secretary of the Department of Commerce.