U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to guests gathered for a rally at General Electric's Waukesha gas engines plant on January 30, 2014 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Manufacturing Key to US Competitiveness—President Provides More Funding

Oct. 27, 2014
New funding will go toward three technologies critical to U.S. competitiveness: advanced materials including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing, and digital manufacturing.

Advanced manufacturing gained further support today as the Departments of Defense, Energy, Agriculture and NASA will receive more than $300 million in new investments.

The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee, a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology, announced on October 27 in the "Accelerating US Advanced Manufacturing Report," that they have identified three technologies critical to U.S. competitiveness: advanced materials including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing, and digital manufacturing.

Other objectives of the funding include providing state-of-the-art facilities to manufacturers similar to the level that exists at the national lab. Therefore the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and NASA are taking steps to connect industry and universities on research and development and develop ‘technology testbeds’ within Federal research facilities where companies can design, prototype, and test a new product or process.

Another key strategy is to make sure the talent pipeline is available to support new technology. The Department of Labor will launch a $100 Million American Apprenticeships Grant Competition to spur new apprenticeship models and scale effective ones in high-growth fields like advanced manufacturing.  AMP members Dow, Alcoa, and Siemens have launched apprenticeship pilots and a “how-to” guide for other employers looking to use apprenticeship as a proven training strategy.

Smaller manufacturers will receive assistance as well as the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which serves over 30,000 U.S. manufacturers each year, will build new capabilities at its state-based centers and pilot a competition for $130M over five years across ten states to help small manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market. 

This new round of funding builds upon the initiative which started in June 2011. Since then four manufacturing innovation institutes have opened (with four more on the way.)

The government has invested nearly $1 billion to upgrade community colleges to train workers for advanced manufacturing jobs; expanded investments in applied research for emerging, cross-cutting manufacturing technologies; and launched a new initiative to deploy the talent of returning veterans to in-demand jobs, including in advanced manufacturing.

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