manufacturing

Opportunity to advance technology adoption in small and medium manufacturers

NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is working with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to support projects partnering universities and MEP centers to encourage adoption of advanced technologies by small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). APLU is working with Innovation Associates and Jim Woodell & Company to select three collaborative university-MEP pilot projects to develop and test different models of technology transitioning. APLU is currently soliciting two-page, pre-proposals from university-MEP applicant teams by April 16.

Innovation and new opportunity front and center in the American Jobs Plan

As noted in our separate overview, the 25-page American Jobs Plan provides goals, highlights and proposals, but also raises questions about how proposals would be implemented and even exactly how much money would be spent.

Manufacturing outlook looking up

Manufacturing activity has rebounded sharply from the depths of last year’s slowdown due to the pandemic and global recession, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) first quarter outlook survey. The survey marked the third straight quarter of increased optimism among respondents, with 87.6 percent of manufacturers saying they felt either somewhat or very positive about their company’s outlook.

Report: Heartland stands to benefit most from reshoring

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the country’s reliance on overseas manufacturing production when there was a lack of medical supplies and equipment to treat those affected by the virus as supply chains were reliant on supplies from outside the country. A recent report from Heartland Forward finds that many domestic and foreign companies are recognizing the strategic advantages of locating in the U.S. and are considering reshoring operations.

MEP Centers continue to deliver consistent ROI to nation

Despite facing enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers continued to deliver a “consistent and significant return on investment to the nation,” in FY 2020, according to a new analysis from the W.E. Upjohn Institute. MEP Centers deliver technical assistance to primarily small- and medium-sized manufacturing establishments to help them improve their productivity and competitiveness.

Energy provides $123 million for manufacturing innovation projects

The U.S. Department of Energy announced more than $123 million across 46 awards to projects supporting manufacturing innovation. About half of the funds are going to efficiency improvements in manufacturing processes, with the remainder split between improving chemical manufacturing and supporting more efficient facilities and systems. SSTI members included among the project awardees include Argonne National Lab, Sandia National Lab, University of Cincinnati, University of Michigan, and the University of Tennessee.

Manufacturing sector’s economic contributions celebrated while reports caution uneven regional and racial benefits

As Manufacturing Day continues to be recognized throughout the month of October, the Census Bureau issued a press release highlighting the key economic contributions of the manufacturing sector. The release highlighted the increases in the value of shipments and employment in the manufacturing sector from 2017 to 2018, as well as the sector’s nearly 60 percent share of U.S. exports. But a recent report from Policy Matters Ohio and The Century Foundation set a more cautionary note. Analyzing data over a much longer period and focused on four states in the Great Lakes region, the report finds that manufacturing jobs had not yet recovered to pre-Great Recession levels even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and that the wage advantage of manufacturing has continued to erode compared to other sectors in the region.

$16 trillion economic cost of racial discrimination for last 20 years; manufacturing organizations focusing on workforce equity

Against the backdrop of a recent report from Citigroup Global Perspectives & Solutions that tags the cost of failing to address the racial gaps between Blacks and whites in the U.S. economy over the last 20 years at $16 trillion, the Industry and Inclusion initiative — a joint effort by the Urban Manufacturing Alliance and the Century Foundation — is working towards making Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) the centerpiece of workforce development strategy. Highlighting best practices for supporting people of color in accessing and building wealth through opportunities in manufacturing, the initiative offers a framework for all workforce development organizations to accelerate their efforts in closing racial equity gaps.

Manufacturing Day goes virtual

Every year, manufacturers from around the nation gather on the first Friday in October to open their shop doors to students, prospective employees, teachers, and community leaders. Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) is meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and showcases the many career opportunities that exist in today’s modern manufacturing space. Last year, more than 325,000 people participated in MFG Day and over 3,000 events were held nationwide.

Manufacturers guided in hiring cybersecurity workforce

As manufacturers become more reliant on automation, advanced control systems, and remote work, the threat of cyber-attacks with the potential to damage critical infrastructure and even shut down an entire plant’s operations has never been greater.

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