WASHINGTON — After a protracted and painful slump, American manufacturing has started to show new signs of life in Ohio and elsewhere. But the gains have been small and slow, with the state adding back only a fraction of the manufacturing jobs lost amid the Great Recession.

With similar trends seen across the country over the last decade, lawmakers are looking for new ways to rev up that part of the economy. One proposal in particular — co-sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio — is gaining traction in the Senate.

It would provide funding for manufacturing “hubs” — public-private partnerships between universities, businesses and federal agencies — designed to spur the development and production of next-generation manufacturing products. President Barack Obama launched the initiative in 2012, awarding a $30 million grant to the first hub — in Youngstown — to pioneer advances in 3-D printing.

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