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Obama announces initiatives to spur manufacturing innovation

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WASHINGTON (June 18, 2014) — President Barack Obama has announced new federal government actions to spur innovation and entrepreneurship in U.S. manufacturing, at the same time as the White House released a report providing an optimistic picture of manufacturing growth.

Mr. Obama announced the initiatives and the report June 17. The initiatives include:

• The “Mayors Maker Challenge,” in which more than 90 U.S. mayors and local leaders will expand access to physical locations and new manufacturing and prototyping equipment in their communities;

• A program to streamline access by manufacturing entrepreneurs to more than $5 billion worth of advanced equipment in more than 700 research and development facilities nationwide; and

• Investing an extra $150 million from five federal agencies in the Materials Genome Initiative to ensure U.S. leadership in inventing and manufacturing advanced materials.

The new report, “Making in America: U.S. Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” said U.S. manufacturing has been in resurgence since a decade-long stagnant period in 2000-2010.

“Since the end of the recession, manufacturing in America has become a bright spot of the recovery,” the report said. Manufacturing output has increased 30 percent since 2010 — twice the pace of the economy overall — and added 646,000 jobs during the same period, it said.

The report praised the results of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, which is establishing regional hubs for research and development in innovative manufacturing technologies in a collaboration among the government, industry and academia.

“This type of ‘teaching factory’ provides a unique opportunity for educating and training students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help companies, most importantly small manufacturers, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test and pilot new products and manufacturing processes,” it said.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, praised Mr. Obama’s initiatives.

“The president’s announcement is an important step on the path toward a more vibrant manufacturing ecosystem in America,” Mr. Paul said. “Opening federally funded research spaces to American entrepreneurs will help to ensure that we not only dream up the next big idea, but that we also make it here.”

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