Sen. Sherrod Brown Proposes National Network of Manufacturing Innovation

Dave Johnson

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today called for the creation of a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and is drafting legislation to accomplish this. The legislation would help establish more next generation manufacturing centers like the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown.

My August post, Ohio 3D-Printing Manufacturing Hub Initiative, I described the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown,

Last week the Obama administration announced a new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio. The Institute will work on promoting new 3D printing technology. 3D printing is a key strategic industry that is changing the way many products are designed and built, and will likely be another battleground as new industries form around it.

(Click through to learn about 3D printing, it’s pretty cool.)

The idea is to develop regional “hubs” that are “centers of excellence” across all sectors of manufacturing. These hubs bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies – such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the National Science Foundation – and U.S. state and local governments to accelerate manufacturing innovation.

According to a press release from Sen. Brown these hubs will “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.

This is a step toward a national manufacturing strategy, which other countries have and we do not.

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