WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, including Co-Chairs Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), endorsed U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) call to establish a Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI). Brown is the author of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act, bipartisan legislation which would establish a NMI to position the United States as, once again, the global leader in advanced manufacturing. The bill, introduced with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), would ensure that the U.S. can out-innovate the rest of the world while creating thousands of high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs. Brown 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 is about providing the manufacturing infrastructure this country needs to retain our competitive edge,” Brown said. “I thank Co-Chairs Graham and Stabenow for their support of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act. This bipartisan bill would ensure that American workers, universities, and large and small manufacturers can out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world. We know that manufacturing has strong ripple effects on the rest of our economy and helped build America’s middle class. So we need to make sure that we don’t cede American leadership to countries that are racing to get ahead.”

“To have a strong middle class we have to make things here and grow things here,” Stabenow said. “Senator Brown’s legislation will spur innovation in manufacturing to help our businesses and workers compete and win in the global economy, and help American manufacturers create more jobs across the country.”

The Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act is modeled on Youngstown’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), now called American Makes, a public-private manufacturing hub. 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.  

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).  

The Brown-Blunt Amendment to the Senate Budget FY 2014 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). 

The Youngstown-based institute is the pilot of NMI. In August 2012, Brown visited M-7 Technologies in Youngstown to announce the $30 million grant from DoD, matched by nearly $40 million in non-Federal 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. 

Today’s announcement follows President Obama’s recent visit to Cleveland to discuss the state of American manufacturing. In September 2013, the Administration launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee “2.0,” part of its continued efforts to ensure that the United States remains a global manufacturing leader through the partnership of industry, academia, and government. Serving on the committee, among others, is Luis Proenza, President of the University of Akron; and Eric Spiegel, Youngstown State University (YSU) alum and President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Siemens Corporation. Spiegel is also scheduled to testify at today’s Commerce Committee hearing.