Lawmakers hope to fund Manufacturing Universities

11071454_884044665001667_5060816479947267035_nA bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would provide federal funding to enhance education in the manufacturing space. The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015 would create a program within the U.S. Commerce Department to select 25 “Manufacturing Universities.” Designated schools would receive $5 million per year for four years to meet specific goals related to engineering programs, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, job training, and manufacturing entrepreneurship.

“As a small business owner who worked in manufacturing for over 35 years, I understand the difficulty in training and finding qualified manufacturing workers,” stated Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York. “To expand manufacturing in the United States, we need to have a workforce capable of filling these skilled jobs.”

“If we want businesses to expand and grow our economy, we need to make sure our workforce has the skills and training to match,” said Senator Gillibrand, D-New York. “No job should go unfilled and no company’s expansion should ever be inhibited because there aren’t enough trained workers. This legislation will equip more students with the advanced manufacturing skills and experience necessary to meet growing demand and ensure our manufacturing remains innovative and globally competitive.”

The director of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology would lead the charge in overseeing the program. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced similar legislation during the previous session of Congress, but the measure failed to advance through the Senate’s education committee.

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