After shedding jobs for a decade, U.S. manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three years. Manufacturing production has grown since the end of the recession at its fastest pace in over a decade. To build on this momentum, the President has outlined a proposal to invest in American manufacturing.
This includes a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) which would require a $1 billion investment at the Department of Commerce to create the NNMI, a model based on approaches that other countries have successfully deployed. Each institute would serve as a regional hub designed to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, bringing together companies, universities and community colleges, and Federal agencies to co-invest in technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S. This type of innovation infrastructure provides a unique ‘teaching factory’ that allows for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help companies, most importantly small manufacturers, access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.
The Department of Defense will lead two of the new Institutes, focused on “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation” and “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing,” and the Department of Energy will be leading one new institute on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing.”