Manufacturing is a central pillar of the President’s agenda to create middle class jobs and grow the economy given its importance for the durability of our industries and the strength of our innovation.
This past July, in a speech at the Brookings Institution, Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling outlined the case for a manufacturing renaissance in the United States – and the essential role of policy in ensuring that we take advantage of the wind at our back to drive a manufacturing renaissance.
Since early 2010, U.S. manufacturing has added over half a million manufacturing jobs and surveys show that more than half of all manufacturers are or are actively considering re-shoring production to the United States. Continued productivity gains, rising costs abroad, shortening supply chains, and the domestic advantages of low-cost and plentiful energy are making the U.S. increasingly competitive for production.
But there is no end to the global competition for these jobs. Maintaining our competitiveness in manufacturing will depend on partnerships across the private and public sectors and smart policies that build atop our strengths in manufacturing.
That is why this week the Administration announced two significant steps to move our manufacturing agenda forward. Yesterday, the Administration awarded grants to 44 manufacturing communities from across the nation, through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, for them to craft economic development strategies to build atop their strengths for manufacturing. And today, the Administration announced the launch of the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee ‘2.0’.
The new Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee, a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, will build on progress made by the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee, created by President Obama in 2011. As outlined in its landmark report released last year, Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing, that group issued a clarion call for a national effort to strengthen the US advanced manufacturing sector, including 16 concrete recommendations across enabling innovation, securing the talent pipeline, and improving the business climate; and championed the creation of both the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund.
With changes in the global economy, we can no longer operate in siloes within industries or companies and expect to maintain our competitiveness for advanced manufacturing. That is why the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership pulls together leaders from across manufacturing, labor, and academia to advance initiatives that strengthen our ability to compete for manufacturing globally. Co-chaired by Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Company, and Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee will pursue an action-oriented agenda focused on building out the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, scaling promising manufacturing workforce innovations and partnerships, and identifying strategies for securing the Nation’s competitive advantage in transformative manufacturing technologies.
Just as securing our advantage in manufacturing requires partnerships across the private and public sectors; it also requires a whole of government approach to investing in the local assets and ecosystems that make communities competitive for manufacturing jobs.
The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership is just such an effort. The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership challenges communities around the country to utilize all of their resources – from universities to private corporations to infrastructure – and come up with economic development strategies build upon their strengths to attract manufacturing.
This first phase of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership provides 44 planning grants and investments totaling $7 million to support the creation of economic development strategies. The second phase of the Partnership, coming this October, will designate stand-out “Manufacturing Communities,” giving them an advantage in securing grants from across the federal government to invest behind strategies that build their local competitiveness for advance manufacturing.