WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced the passage of a $20 million investment in a Department of Defense program to help universities in Delaware, New York, South Carolina and throughout the country strengthen their engineering programs to meet the demands of the modern manufacturing industry in the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This program is modeled after the bipartisan Manufacturing Universities legislation championed by Senators Coons, Gillibrand, and Graham to support training at U.S. universities to help equip students with skills to compete in the 21st century manufacturing workforce.
“I am delighted that NDAA includes support for this critical DoD training program, modeled after our bipartisan Manufacturing Universities legislation, that will help students across the country acquire the skills they need for jobs in advanced manufacturing industries," said Senator Coons. "As the demand for a highly-skilled workforce continues to grow, the job training programs at universities need to keep up to ensure that students are equipped to excel in this growing field. I am proud to work with Senators Gillibrand and Graham on this important partnership.”
“I am very pleased that continued investment is being made in this critical job training program, and I was proud to fight on the Armed Services Committee for it to be included in the NDAA,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Many companies in our state have good-paying job openings that are ready to be filled, but there are still too many young workers and recent graduates who don’t have the specific skills they need to take on these opportunities. This DoD program, modeled after our Manufacturing Universities legislation, would go a long way toward closing that gap by giving universities more resources to train the next generation of manufacturing workers. I will always fight for New York’s workers, and I urge my colleagues in the House to join the Senate in supporting this investment.”
“This is an incredibly important issue for institutions of higher education and manufacturing industries in South Carolina and the rest of the country,” said Senator Graham. “I look forward to working on addition al, innovative ways to ensure our manufacturing sector thrives and maintains its international competitiveness in the years to come.”
Universities and other participating organizations would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and required to better align their education programming with the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers, focusing engineering programs on development of industry-relevant advanced manufacturing skills, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing hands-on training opportunities for students, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship.
The legislation was endorsed by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Precision Metalforming Association, the National Tooling & Machining Association, the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, the University of Missouri System, the University of Illinois, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Irvine, Boston University, the University of Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the State University of New York (SUNY) System, Kent State University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Connecticut, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, The Ohio State University, Dow, DuPont, and Siemens.