WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the below statement in response to this evening’s State of the Union address. Earlier today, Brown announced that he is drafting legislation to create a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation to create more advanced manufacturing hubs like the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown. In tonight’s speech, President Obama asked Congress to create a network of 15 additional hubs of manufacturing innovation.
“Tonight’s speech provided an important blueprint to grow our economy by growing the middle class,” Brown said. “My guest at tonight’s State of the Union Address was Ms. Cookie Hall, a Cleveland steelworker who knows that American workers are the most productive in the world. President Obama outlined a plan to ensure that American manufacturers – and the middle-class jobs they support – are not only the most productive in the world, but also the most innovative.”
“Today it is a privilege to be here in Washington D.C. for the first time in my life. If I get a chance to meet President Obama, I’ll tell him my greatest pride is in our 2012 production record at Cleveland Works,” Ms. Hall said, “Last Year, we achieved one-man-hour-per-ton-of-steel in steelworker productivity and produced 2.8 million tons of steel – with 600,000 tons of that being flat-roll products dedicated to automotive customers like the Chevrolet Cruze made in Ohio. We’re the most productive steelworkers in the world. In Cleveland, we are truly world class competitive in the global marketplace.”
“I’m working on legislation to establish a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation to create regional public-private partnerships for manufacturers to improve innovation and create new jobs,” Brown continued. “This sort of investment in the middle class is how we can continue to create jobs and get our economy back on track.”
In advance of tonight’s State of the Union address, Brown called for the creation of a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Working with industry, labor, and his Senate colleagues, Brown is drafting legislation that would help establish more next generation manufacturing centers like the first-of-its-kind National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown. The President previously expressed support for a NNMI in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal, and tonight announced the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs and asked Congress to help create a network of 15 more hubs.
Brown’s legislation is designed to bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies – such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the National Science Foundation – and U.S. state and local governments to accelerate manufacturing innovation.
Specifically, the legislation would establish public-private Institutes that leverage investments 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 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.
The first pilot of the National Network for Manufacturing Institutes is located in Youngstown. In August 2012, Brown joined White House officials to announce funding to establish a new, first-of-its-kind manufacturing institute in Youngstown, known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). In June 2012, Brown led a Congressional letter of support for the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh TechBelt to receive the competitively-awarded grant.
Described as “Congress' leading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown—a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus—has introduced a package of key legislative proposals aimed at bolstering the competiveness of U.S. manufacturers and boosting domestic manufacturing. Last year, legislation sponsored by Brown and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2011, passed the House. This bipartisan legislation requires the Commerce Secretary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the nation’s manufacturing sector and submit to Congress a National Manufacturing Strategy (NMS). The goals of the NMS are to increase manufacturing jobs, identify emerging technologies to strengthen U.S. competitiveness, and strengthen the manufacturing sectors in which the U.S. is most competitive.