NEC Supports Legislation to Promote Advanced Manufacturing

Many people hear the word “manufacturing” and think of a dark, dirty, dangerous, and declining industry.  They picture large machinery, hot and crowded conditions on the factory floor, and a high volume of production.

But by and large the world of manufacturing has changed over the past several decades, and that picture is outdated.  With that change has come the growth of a new kind of manufacturing – advanced manufacturing.  Compared to its more traditional counterparts, advanced manufacturing relies  instead on “skills and creativity to produce highly specified and complex products,” according to a report from the New England Council and Deloitte.  Advanced manufacturing thrives on collaboration and information sharing between engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists, business developers, machinists, and others in a variety of fields.  And, as the report notes, “[f]ew regions can match this talent cluster in depth or diversity – it is truly a New England advantage.”

The question is, what are some of the key ways to best promote this major advantage for our region?  One initiative supported by the New England Council is the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation, or RAMI, Act of 2013, which has been introduced in both houses of Congress.  The RAMI Act would establish a nationwide Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI) and build off the work already underway at the Department of Commerce, where the Obama Administration has thus far announced the creation of several Centers for Manufacturing Innovation.  Because of the strength of advanced manufacturing in New England, the Council believes that the region would be a perfect fit for one of these centers, which would invite collaboration and cooperation among industry, academia, and non-profits from all six states.

The bills are supported by a number of New England’s members of Congress, and we are reaching out to other members to educate them about the legislation and ask for their support.  To that end, the Council recently sent a letter to Senators from the six states encouraging them to support the RAMI Act, which is S. 1468 in the Senate (the House companion bill, which is led by Congressman Joseph Kennedy III of Massachusetts, is filed as H.R. 2996).  You can view one of those letters here [LINK].

As the Council/Deloitte report noted, “[t]hrough a more focused collaboration of industry, government, and education, advanced manufacturing can be enhanced and expanded.”  By supporting regional innovation centers and working to bring one to New England, we can help promote advanced manufacturing and produce highly skilled, well-paying jobs throughout the region.

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