The Milwaukee 7 Region was selected for a federal designation as a “Manufacturing Community,” which allows M7 to receive preferential consideration when it competes for up to $1.3 billion in federal grant money. The 12 newly designated communities were selected from a nationwide list of 72 communities that applied for the program. The Manufacturing Communities list was announced Wednesday by the Obama administration. While designation as a Manufacturing Community does not guarantee funds will be awarded, it gives the communities a let up and guidance through the grant process when competing for federal monies in a time of constrained spending. It also qualifies the M7 Region for coordinated support for the M7 Region’s long-term economic development strategies from 11 federal agencies. Among U.S. metro areas with a minimum of 500,000 nonfarm jobs, metro Milwaukee consistently shows up with the second highest share of its workforce in manufacturing, behind San Jose, Calif, cites the Journal-Sentinel. Wisconsin, meanwhile, vies with Indiana in leading the nation in the share of its workforce in manufacturing. Key M7 projects which are poised for an infusion of investment include an Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, and an Energy Innovation Center in the former Eaton Corp.