Washington, DC – Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called for passage of legislation that would expand a program to create regional manufacturing program. Casey called for the passage of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Act of 2013, which he is co-sponsoring and would authorize the creation of 15 unique manufacturing hubs throughout the country through a competitive application process.
“Pennsylvania has a uniquely skilled workforce and access to key resources,” said Senator Casey. “Job creation is my top priority, and a new, innovative manufacturing center will help boost the economy in our Commonwealth.”
The National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI) is designed to help small and medium-sized companies conduct research and development in advanced manufacturing technologies. Building on the success of a pilot institute launched in August 2012, the Administration recently announced its decision to commit $200 million across several federal agencies, including Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Each institute will be selected on the basis of an open, competitive review led by a multi-agency team of technical experts. Federal funding will be matched by industry investment, support from state and local governments, and other sources. These Institutes, like the pilot program they’re modeled after, are expected to become financially self-sustaining. The Departments of Energy and Defense will commence the competition to select these new institutes immediately. Winning teams are expected to be announced later this year.
Last year, as part of his budget for fiscal year 2013, President Obama recommended investing $1 billion to create a network of 15 manufacturing hubs called Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI). Senator Casey will co-sponsor the first-ever legislation to create these unique manufacturing hubs – each intended to specialize in its own specialized technology. The President again requested $1 billion in his fiscal year 2014 budget which, along with the passage of the Senator’s authorizing legislation, will kick-start the creation of these 15 manufacturing hubs.
The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Act of 2013 will expand the Administration’s recently-announced investment by bringing together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the National Science Foundation, and state, tribal and local governments to accelerate manufacturing innovation. Specifically, the legislation would establish public-private Institutes that leverage investments in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, provide shared assets to help companies – particularly small and medium-size manufacturing enterprises – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. Each Institute will serve as a regional hub of manufacturing excellence, providing the innovation infrastructure to support regional manufacturing and ensuring that our manufacturing sector is a key pillar in an economy that is built to last. This model has been successfully deployed in other countries and would address a gap in the U.S. manufacturing innovation infrastructure.