In-Depth: Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) introduced this bill to reauthorize and improve the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act:
“Before serving in Congress, I worked at a Manufacturing USA Institute conducting research on digital manufacturing techniques and the future of work. I have seen how Manufacturing USA uses the public-private partnership model to create a unique collaborative platform for U.S. industry and academia to exchange best-in-class expertise to solve challenges and push the bounds of innovation. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan American Manufacturing Leadership Act to ensure that the Manufacturing USA Institutes can continue their great work. This will help the companies in my district stay at the forefront of global innovation in advanced manufacturing technologies, while continuing to develop the workforce of today and tomorrow.”
In remarks at this bill’s markup by the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology, Rep. Stevens added:
“Today, there are 14 institutes in the network, including the LIFT institute in Southeast Michigan… [T]he strength of these institutes lies in the public-private partnership. The private partners, who contribute at least a 50 percent of the cost, come together to collaborate on pre-competitive R&D in specific technology areas. They are only able to do this because of support from the Federal government in the planning, development, management, and operations for each institute. The federal funding also helps research, education, and outreach activities that the private sector is unlikely to support on its own. The Manufacturing USA Institutes are a critical part of U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing. The institutes provide a unique collaborative platform for U.S. industry and academia to exchange best-in-class expertise to solve challenges and push the bounds of innovation. In 2017 alone, Manufacturing USA raised almost $180 million in investments from the private sector from nearly 1,300 manufacturers, universities, community colleges, government labs, and NGOs. The Program is making great strides in workforce development as well. For example, in 2017 the LIFT institute reached over 160,000 students across the country through innovative web-based curricula as well as in-person training programs. These programs taught our students about the science and technology used by materials manufacturers and manufacturing processes. H.R. 2397, the American Manufacturing Leadership Act, or AMLA, will ensure that the program can continue to contribute to the growth of our domestic advanced manufacturing industry and an advanced manufacturing workforce to fill the high-skills jobs of the future.”
The Alliance for American Manufacturing is among a number of organizations that supports this bill. Its president, Scott Paul, says:
“The Alliance for American Manufacturing lauds the introduction of The American Manufacturing Leadership Act. Manufacturing USA was created to bolster domestic manufacturing by fostering collaborative innovation clusters that help manufacturers invent, adopt, and produce next generation technologies and products. It is critical to our nation’s long-term success that investments in research and development translate to the transfer of new technologies and techniques to U.S. manufacturers and fabricators. By bringing together government, industry and academia to cultivate innovation and R&D in emerging industries, Manufacturing USA’s network of manufacturing institutes is an integral part of this effort strengthen our economy’s competitiveness and create good manufacturing jobs right here in the U.S. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen our innovation ecosystem by promoting more robust outreach to small and medium sized businesses, strengthening the institutes’ role in workforce development, and encouraging the establishment of additional manufacturing institutes to ensure the U.S. continues to be a global leader in manufacturing technology.”
This bill unanimously passed the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology with the support of 22 bipartisan cosponsors, including 16 Democrats and six Republicans.
It also has the support of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Association of American Universities, Association for Manufacturing Technology, American Small Manufacturers Coalition, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, BPC Action and others.
Of Note: RAMI — passed in 2014 — formalized Manufacturing USA, a public-private network of 14 manufacturing institutes. It seeks to promote U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing by bringing federal agencies, manufacturers, universities, community colleges and nonprofits together to catalyze new technologies, meet research needs and train the workforce of the future.
In a May 2019 report evaluating the Manufacturing USA program, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the NIST, DOE and DOD hadn’t developed criteria “to evaluate whether the [RAMI] institutes will be able to sustain their operations.” In its report, the GAO found that lack of evaluation criteria to determine RAMI Institutes’ long-term sustainability in the event of reduced federal funding might make Congressional appropriators hesitate to provide more money for the program, even if DOE and DOC authorization levels increase. Thus, the GAO recommended that the NIST “develop and implement network-wide performance goals for the Manufacturing USA program with measurable targets and time frames.”
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ipopba)