The U.S. Commerce Department on Wednesday named Minnesota's medical-technology sector as one of 12 "Manufacturing Communities," in the nation, a distinction that could enhance access to federal money to grow manufacturing jobs.

The Commerce Department announcement means Minnesota will have better leverage to compete for $1 billion in economic development funds from 11 different federal agencies, including the departments of commerce and defense and the National Science Foundation.

"This is the Department of Commerce saying, if you are an investor or someone looking to start a company or build a product, the Minnesota medical manufacturing community is the best place in the country to do it," said Shaye Mandle, CEO of the LifeScience Alley trade group in St. Louis Park.

The federal announcement noted that a large share of all newly approved medical devices over the past five years have been from Minnesota, and the state continues to attract new investment through vehicles like Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator.

"It's kind of the federal government's stamp of approval on this region, being designated as kind of the center of excellence nationally for medical technology manufacturing," said Michael Langley, CEO of Greater MSP, which played a lead role in coordinating the application.

In addition to greater access to funds from the 11 federal agencies, the Minnesota medical technology community, which accounts for more than 28,000 jobs, will now have a federal official who will help to promote the news and use it to attract more private investment.

The federal announcement lists Greater MSP as leading the Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership. Langley said Greater MSP helped bring together a coalition of public and private organizations that created the partnership, including LifeScience Alley, Mayo Clinic, the Met Council, the University of Minnesota, and 14 others.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges congratulated the partnership for the designation: "The Minneapolis-St. Paul region has worked hard to achieve this collaboration and today's designation will help us strengthen and grow that work, and ultimately help create jobs," she said.

The other 11 communities named Wednesday include metals manufacturing in Pittsburgh; good and beverage manufacturing in Fresno, Calif.; advanced manufacturing in Hartford, Conn.; transportation equipment manufacturing in San Antonio, Texas; advanced materials and manufacturing in Utah; chemical processing corridor, Louisiana; wood products manufacturing in Oregon and Washington; sustainable food production, Twin Falls, Idaho; heavy equipment manufacturing, Peoria, Ill.; medical device manufacturing, Memphis, Tenn.; food processing, Madison, Wis.