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White House Releases Report on Advanced Manufacturing

Aline D. McNaull
Number 109 - August 16, 2012  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology submitted a Report to the President on Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing.  The report was prepared by the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee chaired by Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Company.  It builds on a previous report, “Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing.”  The Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing report describes the current state of US manufacturing, articulates the role of manufacturing in producing US jobs, and identifies policy recommendations intended to help strengthen US manufacturing.

The recommendations identified include “enabling innovation, securing the talent pipeline, and improving the business climate.”  These are aimed at ensuring US competitiveness and invigorating domestic manufacturers.  The report calls for the establishment of a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes; emphasizes community college training; and proposes trade, regulatory, and energy policies that would potentially benefit domestic manufacturers. 

In order to enable innovation, the AMP Steering Committee suggests establishing a national advanced manufacturing strategy to identify cross-cutting technologies, creating a national network of manufacturing innovation institutes to foster regional partnerships in advanced manufacturing, and forming a national advanced manufacturing portal to create a searchable database of manufacturing resources.  The Committee recommends increased funding for research and development and improving the strength of interactions between universities and industry. 

Regarding the issue of securing a talent pipeline, the report recommends that the manufacturing community build excitement about careers in manufacturing in order to “correct public misconceptions about manufacturing,” utilize the talent pool of returning veterans to fill skills gaps, strengthen university programs in advanced manufacturing, provide skills certifications and accreditations that are portable between one workplace and the next, and invest in community college education.  The report also recommends the launch of national manufacturing fellowships and internships to bring both resources and recognition to career opportunities in advanced manufacturing. 

To improve the business climate, the AMP Steering Committee recommends that Congress enact specific tax reform to “level the playing field for domestic manufacturers,” streamline “smarter regulations relating to advanced manufacturing,” improve trade policies that have an adverse effect on advanced manufacturing, and update domestic energy policies which have a “profound impact on global competitiveness.”

The report emphasizes the importance of advanced manufacturing as a family of activities that “invokes both new ways to manufacture existing products, and the manufacture of new products emerging from new advanced technologies.”  It highlights that “manufacturing produces new goods that fundamentally change or create new services and sectors.”

The report also states that the US “has relinquished leadership in some medium- and high-tech industries that employ a large proportion of highly-skilled workers.”  To address this the committee proposed two strategies to “create a fertile environment for innovation so that the United States provides the overall best environment for business, through tax and business policy, robust support for basic research, and training and education of a high-skilled workforce; and invest to overcome market failures, to ensure that new technologies and design methodologies are developed here, and that technology-based enterprises have the infrastructure to flourish here.”

Aline D. McNaull
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics