Sen. Jay Rockefeller is the latest Washington politician to push "advanced manufacturing" as a national priority. The West Virginia Democrat introduced a bill in Senate July 8 to train workers in new and emerging manufacturing fields.
Rockefeller's High-Tech Job Opportunities Between our Shores Act, or High-Tech JOBS Act, would create pilot programs for educational institutions and workforce investment boards to partner with manufacturers and train workers for advanced-manufacturing careers.
Programs under the JOBS Act would be required to target communities with existing or expected advanced-manufacturing growth; provide transferable manufacturing credentials and give priority to jobless, dislocated or incumbent manufacturing workers.
"This bill is a direct result of conversations with West Virginians, including at the Commerce Committee hearing in Charleston," said Rockefeller in a statement. "It would create good manufacturing jobs by providing essential training, particularly in communities throughout our state. It's in our best interest to make sure that American workers have the skills they need to get these high-tech jobs."
The bill's introduction comes just weeks after President Obama announced his $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Initiative.
AMP, as the program is called, will harness the power of public-private partnerships between universities, industry and governmental agencies in an effort to streamline innovation and bring products more quickly to market.
Several universities will be involved in the program, including MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. It also will involve industrial partners, including Caterpillar Inc., Allegheny Technologies and Dow Chemical Co.
AMP will be co-chaired by Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, and Andrew Liveris, president and CEO of Dow Chemical.