WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Obama’s State of the Union call for more advanced manufacturing hubs, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged Congress to pass the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). Brown’s bipartisan legislation would establish a Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI) and create thousands of high paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs. This builds on the momentum created when the Administration announced earlier this month that it would support the creation of a new public-private manufacturing hub modeled after Youngstown’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII).

“We can’t give up our manufacturing edge to countries like China that are racing to lead the world in 21st century research, development, and manufacturing,” Brown said. “We know that jobs in the manufacturing industry support more spin-off jobs and have a stronger multiplier effect on our economy. Congress must come together to strengthen the middle class and ensure that every Ohioan has the opportunity to be a part of it. We can help achieve this by building our country’s manufacturing infrastructure by establishing a Network for Manufacturing Innovation. My bipartisan bill would ensure that American workers, universities, and large and small manufacturers can out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world. This would have strong ripple effects on the rest of our economy while creating thousands of middle-class jobs for hardworking Americans.”     

President Obama’s call comes on the heels of an endorsement by the Senate Manufacturing Caucus for Brown’s bipartisan legislation. Earlier this month, Manufacturing Caucus Co-Chairs Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) announced support for RAMI which would establish a NMI to position the United States as, once again, the global leader in advanced manufacturing.

During his speech in North Carolina earlier this month, President Obama announced that the state has been selected to headquarter a consortium of businesses and universities, led by North Carolina State University, to lead a manufacturing innovation institute for next generation power electronics. The creation of the North Carolina facility, based on Youngstown’s NAMII (now called America Makes), is the model that RAMI would replicate throughout the country.

Brown’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. Brown’s bill would particularly benefit a state like Ohio which has nearly 650,000 manufacturing jobs, third most in the United States.

The Youngstown-based institute is the NMI pilot. In August 2012, Brown visited M-7 Technologies in Youngstown to announce the $30 million grant from DoD, matched by nearly $40 million in industry and other funds. The funds helped to establish the new, first-of-its-kind manufacturing institute to specialize in additive manufacturing technology, a type of 3-D printing in which digital models are used to make parts and components. 

Brown’s bill is currently endorsed, among others, by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO), National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA), and Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).  

Brown introduced RAMI with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and previously worked with Blunt to pass a bipartisan amendment to the Senate Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 aimed at supporting the creation of a network of manufacturing innovation hubs. This amendment was supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Association for Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) North America, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), Council on Competitiveness, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), United Auto Workers (UAW), Association of American Universities (AAU), Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), American Auto Policy Council (AAPC), and The Ohio State University (OSU).