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Presidential Action to Spur Domestic Manufacturing: Is It Enough?


Some good news has come from the White House, as President Obama has announced a series of executive actions designed to strengthen advanced manufacturing. These actions were developed in partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee, an industry trade association. Here is a full list of the participants in the AMP.

 You can read the full 108 page document explaining the executive actions  here. The highlights are:

Three distinct areas will be addressed by this suite of executive actions: promoting innovation, securing a workforce of skilled workers, and making the business environment more favorable for manufacturers.  300 million dollars will be invested in areas that the AMP identified as critical to U.S. competitiveness: advanced materials including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing, and digital manufacturing. Research into new manufacturing tools and techniques, both at the university level and within Federal facilities, will enjoy a renewed level of support.

Finding skilled manufacturing employees has been an ongoing challenge for all of us. A $100 million dollar apprenticeship grant competition is designed to incentivize manufacturers to invest in expanded training programs, particularly in skilled roles.  There will also be a concerted effort to highlight the attractiveness of careers in manufacturing to today’s youth, an issue we’re particularly passionate about.

Perhaps most exciting is the news that 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.

Will these efforts be enough to shore up our manufacturing sector? Well, we don’t have a crystal ball that tells the future, but it definitely seems like they certainly can’t hurt.  A concentrated investment in the manufacturing sector, with actions guided by the experience and insight of the leaders from the nation’s top manufacturers, is a good start on improving the current situation. We need innovation, skilled workers, and a much more business friendly environment if domestic manufacturing is going to thrive.  We’ll be watching with interest as these actions are implemented, and we’re sure you will be too!