Collins, Esty Introduce Bipartisan Manufacturing Bill
Rep. Chris Collins and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) today introduced H.R. 5526, the Manufacturing Universities Act of 2014, to prepare engineering students for innovative careers in manufacturing.
“Before becoming an elected official, I worked in the manufacturing industry for over 35 years,” said Congressman Collins. “As a small business owner with a degree in mechanical engineering, I understand first-hand the difficulty in training and finding qualified manufacturing workers. To expand manufacturing in Western New York, we need to have a workforce capable of filling these skilled jobs. This bipartisan legislation will provide partnering colleges and universities the resources necessary to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in the manufacturing industry.”
“I have heard directly from manufacturers across the district who are struggling to find the highly-skilled workers they need,” said Congresswoman Esty. “As the manufacturing sector continues to grow in Connecticut, it is critical that our students are ready for these jobs. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will give engineering programs the resources necessary to prepare students for the jobs waiting for them. In Connecticut, where we have exceptional engineering schools, we must make sure our students have the tools they need thrive in these 21st century jobs.”
“We cannot overstate the importance of manufacturing to our national economic well-being as well as the economic vitality of Upstate New York,” says Dr. Nabil Z. Nasr, Associate Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “This legislation recognizes the role of universities in helping to strengthen and support U.S. manufacturing. The bill will help to foster greater strategic collaboration between manufacturers and universities that will support applied research, facilitate technology transfer, and expand workforce development programs to meet the current and future needs of the manufacturing sector.”
“I want to thank Congressman Collins for his leadership in introducing the Manufacturing Universities Act,” said Robert L. Clark, Senior Vice President for Research at the University of Rochester and Dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “As a fellow engineer, Rep. Collins uniquely appreciates the vital role engineers have on our nation’s competitiveness. The Manufacturing Universities Act will invest in our nation’s research institutions to bolster research and education programs to develop the innovations and the skilled, entrepreneurial workforce needed to revitalize U.S.’s manufacturing sector.”
“The Manufacturing Universities initiative is an exciting program that will transform high-tech manufacturing technologies and workforce development in the United States,” said Mun Choi, Provost, University of Connecticut. “University of Connecticut is uniquely positioned to support this program through new investments in additive manufacturing, composite fabrication and materials development and industry with aerospace, biomedical and energy industries.”
The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2014 addresses the training needs of workers and manufacturers by supporting the next generation of engineers. The bill establishes a program within the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST would be tasked with administering a Manufacturing Universities program at colleges and universities to prepare engineering students for manufacturing jobs. Colleges and universities with existing engineering programs would be eligible to apply for the Manufacturing University designation, which would include up to $5 million annually for four years to improve engineering programs to emphasize manufacturing, increase the number of joint projects with manufacturing firms, and support students who participate in cooperative education with these firms.
The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2014 is bipartisan and bicameral. The companion bill in the Senate is S. 2719.