Obama in Ohio to Announce Manufacturing Initiative Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Obama in Ohio to Announce Manufacturing Initiative

The new White House and Commerce Department plan looks to take advantage of the latest surge in U.S. manufacturing with a series of initiatives.

President Obama will be in Cleveland, Ohio, today to talk about his plan to strengthen U.S. manufacturing by investing in new technology.

Manufacturers are adding jobs at the fastest rate in decades with nearly 900,000 new positions created in the last five years. Factory production is up by a third since the recession and factories across the U.S. are experiencing growth not seen since the 90s.

The new White House and Commerce Department plan looks to take advantage of the latest surge with a series of initiatives including:

Competitions

The Department of Defense is launching a competition for leading manufacturers, universities, and non-profits to form a new manufacturing hub focused on revolutionary fibers and textiles technologies. The $75 million federal investment will be matched by more than $75 million of private sector resources.

Also, there will be $320 million competition to strengthen small manufacturers. Non-profits in 12 states will compete for $158 million in Federal funds matched by $158 million or more in private investment over five years to provide technology and engineering expertise to small manufacturers through the latest round of competitions to strengthen the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)’s network of centers in these states.

Supply Chain Innovation

A new White House and Commerce Department Report describes a dense network of small manufacturers that make up the backbone of America’s supply chains, contributing more than 40% of all manufacturing employment. However, even as their share of U.S. manufacturing employment grows, small firms continue to face stiff challenges in innovation. As the new report finds:

Small manufacturers are playing an increasingly important role in U.S. supply chains and the manufacturing sector overall. Today, small manufacturers employ 42% - or nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing workers - up ten percentage points from their share in the 1980s. 

Dense networks of these small manufacturers are vital to the process of taking a product from concept to market, and the exchange of manufacturing know-how across suppliers is essential for the diffusion of the new product ideas and innovative processes that give U.S. manufacturing its cutting edge.

However, because of the barriers they face, small manufacturers often lag behind their larger peers in adopting critical new technologies. For example, a recent survey found that fewer than 60% of small manufacturers were experimenting in any way with 3-D printing, a potentially transformative technology that is especially beneficial for small companies due to its flexibility. In contrast, over 75% of large firms were using the technology.

The White House Supply Chain Innovation Initiative will focus on public-private partnerships and new federal efforts to strengthen U.S. manufacturing overall by closing this gap.

The event will be live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Follow this link for all the details on the Supply Chain Innovation plan from the Commerce Department.

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