The state of Iowa is now offering additional grants to help manufacturers prepare for the future. The grants are part of Iowa’s strategy called Manufacturing 4.0, which encourages manufacturers to innovate, embrace technology and modernize processes.
The new grants will help larger manufacturers facing workforce shortages or looking to retain employees while modernizing operations, according to a news release.
Iowa manufacturers employing between 76 and 250 full-time employees, and having NAICS (North America Industry Classification System) sector codes between 31 and 33, can apply for up to $500,000 in state assistance. The money is being offered to assist with workforce shortages that are limiting the company in growth or sales, or employers may choose to use the money to retain existing employees and work to integrate varying robotic and automated systems.
Grants are already in place for smaller manufacturers. This year, Iowa lawmakers passed accelerated depreciation for some manufacturers, allowing companies to depreciate equipment more quickly on Iowa tax returns than they could in the past. In 2021, some companies can claim up to 100% depreciation.
The state is also offering a grant of up to $75,000 for smaller manufacturers, those with 75 or fewer employees. These funds can be used to help offset some of the cost of modernization. The state has partnered with CIRAS (the Center for Industrial Research and Service) to work with manufacturers on how to modernize.
“The state is trying to be a supportive partner of the manufacturing sector and these first two steps of helping small manufacturers are part of a long-term program to make sure manufacturing continues to be a viable sector of our economy,” said Ron Corbett, vice president of economic development at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
According to Iowa officials, manufacturing is the state’s largest industry, with advanced manufacturing generating more than $12 billion worth of exported goods and accounting for nearly 18% of the state’s GDP. This program will help to address the workforce issues in the manufacturing sector exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health crisis by awarding grants to eligible applicants that demonstrate the ability to embrace and utilize Industry 4.0 technologies.
Manufacturers interested in the Manufacturing 4.0 initiative and assistance being offered can learn more at www.iowamfg.com/iowa-manufacturing.