President Obama Provides More Funding to Strengthen U.S. Manufacturing and Enable Innovation

President Obama recently unveiled new executive actions to strengthen U.S. advanced manufacturing, spur innovation and make the U.S. a magnet for new jobs and investment.

The Departments of Defense, Energy, Agriculture and NASA recently announced 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 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.

The funding will also work to provide state-of-the-art facilities to manufacturers. 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 goal is securing the talent pipeline to ensure a workforce to support new technology. This fall, 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.

Given the innovation gap faced by small manufacturers, 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 $130 million over five years across ten states to help small manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market.

This new funding is part of an initiative started in 2011 by President Obama when he launched the AMP to create new partnerships between industry, academia, and government to spur U.S. advanced manufacturing competitiveness. Since that time, four manufacturing innovation institutes have opened with four more in the planning stages.

The government has invested nearly $1 billion to strengthen manufacturing curriculum at community colleges across the country to train America’s workforce through the TAA-CCCT fund, led by the Departments of Labor and Education.

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