A newly released report offers insight into federal priorities for sustaining American manufacturing competitiveness. The Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, prepared by the National Science and Technology Council, is a road-map for and window into future federal investments in education, commercialization, and the strengthening of domestic supply chains. This report is developed every four years with input from over a dozen federal agencies, industry, manufacturing and technical associations, and the public.
The plan lays out three main goals:
- Develop and transition new manufacturing technologies. The report cited a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which found that addressing scientific and technical challenges to advanced manufacturing could save U.S. companies $100 million a year while enhancing the value of federal-performed R&D. Specific objectives identified under this goal include capturing the future of intelligent manufacturing systems; developing world-leading materials and processing systems; increasing the domestic production of drugs and medical devices; maintaining leadership in electronics design and fabrication; and strengthening opportunities for food and agricultural manufacturing.
- Educate, train and connect the manufacturing workforce. The primary goal here is to close the gap between emerging jobs and the skill sets of the future workforce, in large part by investing in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at every level from grade school through college. The plan also calls for the promotion of apprenticeship programs that result in nationally portable, industry-recognized and stackable credentials. Other objectives include updating and expanding career and technical education (CTE) programs and developing more effective strategies to diversify the manufacturing workforce.
- Expand the capabilities of the domestic manufacturing supply chain. The report states that “action is required on several fronts” to ensure that the U.S. has the robust advanced manufacturing supply chain it needs to be secure and prosperous. One objective is to increase the role small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) play by enhancing outreach and education efforts, ensuring that agency technology transition programs focus on SMMs and providing SMMs with the cybersecurity tools and expertise necessary to protect their intellectual property. The strategic plan also encourages the creation of manufacturing collaboratives and public-private partnerships and calls for greater use of such programs as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), which support new business creation and growth. Other objectives listed under this goal include strengthening the defense manufacturing base, in part by enhancing President Trump’s “Buy American” program; and strengthening advanced manufacturing in rural economies.
To read the full report, click here.