The FY17 Budget reflects the President’s continued focus on revitalizing U.S. manufacturing by transforming Federal investments in U.S. manufacturing competitiveness over the course of his Administration. This Budget expands the network of manufacturing innovation institutes created by the President, which have already committed over $1.5 billion in public and private resources to drive U.S. leadership in critical manufacturing technologies; significantly increases investment in advanced manufacturing R&D; continues to strengthen manufacturing workforce training programs following the nearly $1 billion in investments in our community colleges to rebuild our training capabilities; and expands new federal efforts to invest in our freight infrastructure to speed goods to market.
When President Obama took office, the cornerstone of American manufacturing—the U.S. auto industry—was on the brink of collapse. At the time, many argued that the United States could no longer compete globally in manufacturing and that we should stand aside and allow our industrial base to continue to decline. The President rejected that view and has focused his economic agenda on creating the foundation for a stronger, more vibrant American manufacturing sector. He understood that the auto industry could not be allowed to fail, and he did what was required to prevent that outcome.
Today, the President’s FY17 Budget underlines his commitment to continue the progress made during this Administration in transforming the Federal Government’s support for manufacturing jobs and employers in the United States. The Budget includes support for launching new manufacturing programs specifically designed to accelerate innovation and reinforce American competitiveness, for significantly expanding investments in manufacturing workforce training and advanced manufacturing technologies, and for increasing the Federal commitment to refurbishing the transportation infrastructure that a thriving manufacturing sector requires.
American manufacturing was in decline when the President took office. Now, U.S. manufacturing has turned a corner. From February 2010 until today, the sector has had its longest streak of job growth in decades, adding over 900,000 new manufacturing jobs and counting. Factories are again opening, and global investment into U.S. manufacturing is on the rise, with executives from around the world proclaiming the United States the top location for business investment in manufacturing three years in a row.
The manufacturing sector, then, has come a long way since 2009. And enactment of the President’s FY17 Budget will ensure continuation of that progress through forward-leaning initiatives that include:
Expanding the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Four years ago, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation did not exist. Now, nine manufacturing institutes are underway, with over 800 companies of all sizes, universities, and non-profits partnering through these institutes on precompetitive research to solve shared manufacturing challenges. And, the program is on track to reach the President’s goal of launching 15 manufacturing institutes before the end of this Administration—in fact, last week, the Department of Commerce launched its first open-topic competition for multiple manufacturing institutes. The Federal investment to launch these institutes has been catalytic—the $500 million in Federal investment committed to date has inspired over $1 billion in non-Federal investment into building U.S. leadership in the emerging manufacturing technologies that will make the United States ever more competitive for future manufacturing businesses and jobs. The FY17 Budget provides $250 million to sustain the existing institutes and launch new ones, to meet the President’s goal of creating 15 institutes by the end of 2016. The FY17 budget also includes $1.9 billion in mandatory funding to expand the network to up to 45 institutes within ten years.
Increasing Investments in Cutting-Edge Manufacturing R&D. President Obama has prioritized the growth of Federal investments in research and development on advanced manufacturing. Despite a nearly stagnant overall discretionary budget, the President has successfully increased R&D investments in critical technologies that support U.S. manufacturing leadership by over 40 percent, from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $2.1 billion in his FY17 Budget. To maximize the impact of these investments, 15 Federal agencies are now, for the first time, coordinating through the President’s National Science and Technology Council their advanced-manufacturing investments all across the technology-innovation pipeline. These coordinated research efforts are supporting game-changing breakthroughs in what can be made and how, such as advanced tools that can manufacture at an atomic-scale; advanced sensors that can reduce energy use in factories by half; and bioreactors to regenerate cells, tissues, and organs at scale to give thousands on the organ transplant waitlist a new lease on life.
Training the American Workforce for Manufacturing Jobs of the Future. U.S. leadership in advanced manufacturing is founded on having one of the most productive, sophisticated, and skilled workforces in the world. To sustain this advantage, America must once again lead the world in educating and preparing its workforce to compete globally. That’s why the President has invested nearly $1 billion in upgrading training for advanced manufacturing at community colleges across America, and why he made the largest investment ever in expanding apprenticeship through the $175 million American Apprenticeship grants. In his FY17 Budget, the President builds on these investments through a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund that would help meet his goal to double the number of apprentices nationally and a $4 billion investment in the Nation’s future manufacturing workers to strengthen computer science and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) coursework in K-12 education.
Repaving and Reinvesting in America’s Transportation Infrastructure. U.S. manufacturers must be able to rely on a high-capacity, well-maintained transportation infrastructure to move goods to market quickly, if they are to stay ahead of their global competition. But for too long, Congress has relied on a patchwork of temporary fixes for the Nation’s highway funding, allowing this critical infrastructure to degrade. This December, for the first time in a decade, the President signed into law a long-term transportation-infrastructure bill. An essential part of it is the Nation’s first-ever dedicated freight program, which will invest over $10 billion to break the bottlenecks in the nation’s most essential transport corridors. The President’s FY17 Budget builds on this progress by proposing to increase transportation-infrastructure investment by $32 billion per year over the next decade.
Now is the time to turn America’s increased competitiveness for manufacturing into a lasting advantage through smart, strategic investments that magnify U.S. strengths in this domain—revving the engines of American inventive creativity, sharpening the skills of the world’s best workforce, and building durable infrastructure to connect U.S. manufacturers with markets.