Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced that $20 million in Manufacturing 4.0 Workforce Innovation grants have been awarded to 46 companies in Iowa. These grants are geared toward Iowa manufacturers with 76-250 employees across locations investing in Industry 4.0 technologies to address workforce issues exacerbated by the negative impacts of COVID-19. Recipients received up to $500,000 in grant funding and a minimum match of 25% was required. An additional $1.9 million in Technology Investment grants was awarded to 37 companies with 3-75 employees for projects that encompass the adoption and integration of smart technologies. These smaller companies received grants of up to $75,000 and a minimum match of 1:1 was required.
Iowa’s Manufacturing 4.0 plan, a roadmap to help Iowa manufacturers remain globally competitive through a fourth industrial revolution that emphasizes automation and smart technology, was launched in February 2021.
“Our Manufacturing 4.0 initiative focuses on one of Iowa’s largest industries, and will help them unleash new potential to grow their businesses,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “To maintain our economic vitality in this sector, particularly as we work to mitigate ongoing workforce shortages, these grants serve as a critical resource to support advanced manufacturing businesses. It is imperative that our businesses remain globally competitive and a step ahead of the evolving demands of the 21st century economy.”
I2TECH, a leading custom plastics injection molder and supplier of contract manufacturing services based in West Des Moines, will be using their $500,000 in grant funds to purchase robots to install on their presses. As a result of COVID-19, I2TECH clients’ demand increased when many other molders closed their doors. At the same time, the labor pool decreased, and the company found it difficult to meet customer needs. The robots will eliminate repetitive tasks, elevate their employees’ skills, and make it easier to accept new and complex projects.
FRM Socks, a leading domestic producer of superior quality socks located in Osage will be using their $340,000 in grant funds to replace an outdated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system with a more capable, modern, cloud-based ERP. This will allow the company to automate the flow of data throughout the entire value chain, improving interactions with suppliers and customers. The impacts of COVID-19 catalyzed the need to prioritize this upgrade.
A full list of the Manufacturing 4.0 Workforce Innovation grant recipients can be found here (link: Manufacturing 4.0 Workforce Innovation Program (iowamfg.com).
A full list of the Manufacturing 4.0 Technology Investment grant recipients can be found here (link: Manufacturing 4.0 Technology Investment Program (iowamfg.com).
IEDA is currently not accepting applications for Workforce Innovation grants. However, IEDA is still accepting applications for the Manufacturing 4.0 Technology Investment program grants for smaller manufacturers (3-75 employees). For more information on this program or Iowa’s Manufacturing 4.0 plan, visit iowamfg.com or email email@example.com.
Gov. Reynolds originally appropriated $30 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for these grant programs in October 2021.