U.S. senators are taking action to strengthen the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness with the bipartisan Revitalize American Innovation Act of 2013, which is intended to support and expand on the Obama administration’s proposal for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and accelerate the creation of high-tech manufacturing jobs.
The bill’s premise is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), launched last year in Youngstown, Ohio. NAMII is a public-private partnership with member organizations from government, academia, industry, and workforce development. It is intended to move additive technology into mainstream manufacturing, and aimed to bolster the midwestern area’s leadership in the technology.
As part of his manufacturing agenda, President Barack Obama has called for the creation of similar institutes around the country that create “the necessary focus for collaborative investments in pre-competitive technologies” and are akin to teaching hospitals — where engineers and workers can develop their skills in advanced manufacturing. This was outlined by Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, in a speech at The Brookings Institution.
The new bill is aimed to make these institutes happen and bolster private-sector job creation while driving the nation’s global competitiveness, according to Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican, who worked with Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat, to pass the legislation to the Senate budget for fiscal year 2014.
“This is about providing the manufacturing infrastructure in this country to retain our competitive edge. Our bipartisan bill would also ensure that American workers, universities, and large and small manufacturers can out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world,” Senator Brown said.
Industry was quick to respond to the legislation. In a statement, John Hayes, vice president of U.S. sales and marketing for Seegrid, a manufacturer of visual-guided robotic and industrial trucks, explained how the bill would support the U.S. workforce.
“In order to stay competitive globally, the United States must make manufacturing innovation a priority,” he said. “Creating a network which fosters manufacturing innovation will strengthen the U.S. economy and generate higher-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs.”
According to the White House, the bill would build on the developments of the NNMI, with a goal of establishing up to 45 such institutes over the next decade.
For more on the Revitalize American Innovation Act of 2013, click here.