WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) call to create a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) gained momentum today with the announcement of two new advanced manufacturing innovation institute. The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) will establish a unique public-private partnership jointly led by The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and the Columbus-based Edison Welding Institute (EWI). The project is projected to create more than 10,000 new jobs in the next five years. In addition to the lead partners, more than seven universities, 17 non-industry members, and 30 companies–including Alcoa, Boeing, Honda, and General Electric–will participate in the collaboration.

“American workers have the drive, the creativity, and the determination to out-innovate the rest of the world,” Brown said. “By developing innovative partnerships among the DoD, research institutions, like The Ohio State University, and industry organizations like EWI, we ensure that American workers and businesses have the resources they need to develop the next generation of high-tech manufacturing Industries. This type of investment helps rebuild our nation's manufacturing sector while creating new jobs and strengthening our middle class.”

In August 2013, Brown and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013, legislation that will support the creation of public-private partnerships like ALMMII and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, Ohio. Brown’s and Blunt’s legislation is designed to bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies and all levels of government to accelerate manufacturing innovation in technologies with commercial applications. It would establish public-private institutes to leverage resources to bridge the gap between basic research and product development.

The ALMMII project will build upon efforts by The Ohio State University and EWI to develop an advanced manufacturing center through a partnership called the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME).  The ALMMII will develop next generation lightweight material used in industries ranging from aerospace to automotive. The project will also help train workers, preparing them for careers in the manufacturing sector. 

"We are extremely excited to be a part of this national institute, which will bring together resources from industry, government and academia to enhance the region's competitiveness, create research and workforce training opportunities for students and generate economic growth.  We are especially grateful for the strong bipartisan support, led by Senator Brown, for advanced manufacturing innovation. I cannot think of a more fitting collaboration to bring together Ohio State and Michigan," Joseph A. Alutto, Interim President, The Ohio State University said.

"Innovation is the number one driver of manufacturing competitiveness, and these institutes represent an important investment in the future of US manufacturing. We applaud Senator Brown's leadership in promoting a broader body of innovation to support American manufacturers, and appreciate the confidence in our team that this award conveys," Henry J. Cialone, President and CEO, EWI said.

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. Brown-Bunt’s 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.

“As a business group focused on economic development, the Columbus Partnership is 100% aligned with efforts that support innovation to drive our global economic competitiveness,” Alex Fischer, President and CEO, Columbus Partnership said. “The Columbus Region's economy is bolstered by the nearly 1,800 small and medium-sized manufacturers that contribute to 80,000 jobs and $10 billion in regional economic output.  The creation of innovation centers that bring together our businesses, schools and government leaders to expedite the transfer of new techniques to our commercial sector supports our important manufacturing base and fuels our regional economy.”

In 2013, Brown and Blunt passed a bipartisan amendment to the Senate Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 aimed at supporting the creation of a network of manufacturing innovation hubs. Their bipartisan, Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, received support from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Procter & Gamble, American Chemistry Council, American Auto Policy Council (AAPC), The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, The Boeing Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Partnership, National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA), Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), Association for Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), SEMI North America, Ohio Aerospace Institute, US Conference of Mayors, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, AISI: American Iron and Steel Institute, Council on Competitiveness, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), American Society for Engineering Education, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO), United Auto Workers (UAW), Association of American Universities, Georgia Institute of Technology, Semiconductor Industry Association, and The Ohio State University.