1. LATEST POLICY
Introduced -- Creating Quality Technical Educators Act
Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Kaine (D-VA), and Portman (R-OH) introduced the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act. The Act creates a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher-training grant partnership to recruit and train high-quality CTE teachers. The Creating Quality Technical Educators Act grant would foster partnerships between high-needs secondary schools and post-secondary institutions to create one-year teacher residencies for CTE teachers. Through grants in the Higher Education and Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), many teacher residency partnerships already exist between post-secondary institutions and local schools to train prospective educators, but none are CTE focused.
CTE teacher residencies created through the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act would target mid-career professionals in related technical fields, as well as recent college graduates, veterans or currently licensed teachers with a desire to transition to a CTE focus.
More: Baldwin release
Introduced -- Manufacturing Skills Act
Senators Coons (D-DE) and Ayotte (R-NH) introduced the Manufacturing Skills Act, bipartisan legislation to help cities and states build 21st century manufacturing training programs. The bill creates an annual $100 million competitive grant to support initiatives that strengthen the manufacturing workforce and address regional skills challenges. Applicants will establish a local task force, consisting of leaders from the public, nonprofit, and manufacturing sector, as well as labor and education representatives, to apply for and carry out the three-year grant. A federal inter-agency partnership will review applications and award grants to the five states and five metropolitan areas with the strongest proposals.
More: Coons release
Announced -- President Obama announces new manufacturing hubs competition
The President announced a new competition to award more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute. This is the second of four new institute competitions that will be launched this year. The competition will be led by the Department of Defense, which will award more than $100 million in federal investment to match $100 million or more in private investment. The money will be used to build a new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI) focused on Integrated Photonics. Photonics covers all of the uses of light; applications include powering the internet, medical technology, and national defense. The Institute will focus on developing an end-to-end photonics ‘ecosystem’ in the U.S., including domestic foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and testing, and workforce development.
More: White House fact sheet
2. OTHER NEWS
News -- Manufacturing Day
The President and Secretary of Commerce Pritzker visited Millennium Steel Service in Princeton, IN to celebrate Manufacturing Day. Millennium supplies automotive grade steel sheet to Toyota and related parts makers. Other cabinet members traveled across the country to discuss the importance of continuing to invest in American manufacturing, as more than 1,600 U.S. manufacturers opened their factories to the public.
As part of Manufacturing Day, the White House and Department of Commerce released a “Digital Tour of American Manufacturing,” a new digital report that highlights the central role of manufacturing in laying the foundation for a new American economy.
The Department of Commerce also released the Assess Costs Everywhere portal to help manufacturers evaluate the advantages of locating in the United States. Developed with experts at Lausanne University, the tool helps manufacturers directly quantify the often hidden costs of lengthy, overseas supply chains. The new inventory costs tool will be used across Commerce’s manufacturing extension centers, which already support more than 30,000 small and medium manufacturers each year.
More: Manufacturing day | Digital Tour of American Manufacturing | Assess Costs Everywhere
News -- Senators host briefing on Career and Technical Education
Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, hosted a briefing and panel discussion on the current opportunities and challenges in aligning skills training with the needs of the 21st century workforce. The panel featured leaders from the education, business and government sectors in Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio and the U.S. Department of Labor who shared their perspectives on the best practices and policies for supplying employers with a skilled workforce and providing students with the training necessary to find employment.
More: Baldwin release
News -- Congressional briefing on NNMI
Senators Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) and Congressman Reed (D-NY-23) and Kennedy (D-MA-4) hosted a briefing on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The briefing featured Commerce Secretary Pritzker and leaders from industry discussing the activities of the pilot Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and the role of the Revitalize American Manufacturing Innovation (RAMI) Act.
News -- McCaskill Op-Ed
Senator McCaskill (D-MO) recently wrote an op-ed arguing that “it’s critical that Congress take bipartisan action to renew the Export-Import Bank.” Senator McCaskill described the Ex-Im Bank as “[o]ne of the most import tools in [the] toolkit … which helps Missouri businesses boost jobs and gives them a competitive edge to succeed internationally.”
As the Senator noted, “Export-Import Bank’s work is simple and incredibly valuable to American business. The Bank supports American jobs by helping to finance foreign sales of U.S. products through loan guarantees, direct loans, and credit insurance, all at no cost to taxpayers. The bank actually earns revenue for the Treasury, including more than $1 billion in 2013 alone. Since 2009, the Export-Import Bank has supported $188 billion in U.S. exports and 1.2 million American jobs. More than 3,400 small businesses rely on the bank to finance export deals
In Missouri, the Export-Import Bank has supported $1 billion in exports from 96 Missouri companies since 2007. And nearly 85 percent of businesses supported by the Export-Import Bank are small and medium-sized businesses.”
More: McCaskill Op-Ed
Report -- The Shifting Economics of Global Manufacturing
A new report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies the United States as a “rising global star” of manufacturing. The report finds that “China’s estimated manufacturing-cost advantage over the U.S. has shrunk to less than 5 percent” and “[c]ost structures in … the U.S. improved more than in all of the other 25 largest exporting economies.”
More: BCG report