WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) call to establish a Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI) gained momentum today following an announcement by the Administration that it would support the creation of a new public-private manufacturing hub modeled after Youngstown’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). This news comes on the heels of an endorsement by the Senate Manufacturing Caucus for Brown’s bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). Last week, Manufacturing Caucus Co-Chairs Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) announced support for Brown’s bipartisan legislation which would establish a NMI to position the United States as, once again, the global leader in advanced manufacturing. 

“Today’s announcement is excellent news for the future of our country’s manufacturing infrastructure,” Brown said. “Ohio and the Mahoning Valley should be proud to have set an example for the rest of the country. But we need to continue to build on this momentum in order for the United States to retain its competitive edge. That is why Congress should pass my bipartisan bill which 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 and continue building America’s middle class.”  

During today’s speech in North Carolina, 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 American Makes), is the model that RAMI would replicate throughout the country. This 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’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 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.

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. 

The Administration’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.

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).