White House Releases Report on Advanced Manufacturing

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Publication date: 
16 August 2012

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.”

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