The effort is part of Obama’s broader vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation that strengthens US industry. He first proposed the network in March 2012 and renewed calls for it in his 2013 State of the Union address, pledging $200 million to invest in three such institutes.
Under his vision, the full network, which requires legislation from Congress, would be developed over a decade and consist of up to 45 regional hubs of public-private partnership. Each would develop specific manufacturing technologies, skilled workers and spin-off businesses.
As of presstime, just two of the institutes have been announced.
"Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create," Obama said. "So, get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work."
In early January, during a visit to Raleigh, NC, Obama announced the selection of the second manufacturing innovation institute. That North Carolina-headquartered institute will include a consortium of 18 companies and 6 universities focused on wide bandgap semiconductor technologies.
The pilot institute, known as the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII, was established in August 2012 with $30 million in federal funds and $40 million from its members. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, NAMII, which is now known as "America Makes," is focused on additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing.
SME had a critical role in getting the pilot innovation instutute off the ground, and is providing some support to the manufacturing institutes.
The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is supported by a report released in 2012, "Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing."