I am in complete support of this document, and I want to encourage you to write to Fred Wentzel at NACFAM (National Council for Advanced Manufacturing) and ask him to include your name and company on the list of supporters.
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ADVANCED MANUFACTURING (NACFAM)
"TOP 3" Policy Priorities for Revitalizing U.S. Manufacturing
Building on the recommendations made by the Coalition on Manufacturing Technology Infrastructure in late August 2010 ... and the discussions held at NACFAM's 2011 Annual Policy Conference and Advanced Manufacturing Leadership Forum annual meeting in April 2011, the following "Top 3" priorities for revitalizing U.S. manufacturing were agreed to by all parties:
- Build a better Educated and Trained Workforce
- Promote Product and Process Innovation and Expand R&D
- Improve Global Competitiveness for U.S. Companies
Each of these priorities contains elements that must be considered in developing public policies that support revitalization of the nation's manufacturing sector. Policy makers must consider these elements in shaping future public policy and legislation. Their goal should be to help American companies make the transformation to a more knowledge-intensive, information-fueled innovative production process so they can be more competitive in the 21st century global economy.
Priority # 1 -- Build a better Educated and Trained Workforce
- Increase credentialing and/or certification for all workforce members.
- Increase focus on career and educational pathways and pipelines for all learners.
- Increase parent and student awareness of manufacturing career opportunities.
- Use competency models to shape career decision-making.
- Require applied learning in all schools serving K - 20 students.
- Increase courses in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for all K - 20 students.
- Provide real-world career counseling for secondary and post-secondary students.
- Promote increased established (incumbent) worker retaining/re-skilling.
- Create more teacher/counselor internships in the private sector.
- Encourage greater use of technology in learning and training.
- Urge all American citizens to pursue life-long learning to retain marketable skills.
- Increase community-level employer/educator collaboration to support learning and skill enhancement programs for K-20 students, teachers and counselors.
Priority # 2 -- Promote Product and Process Innovation and Expand R&D
•· Lower interest-rate loans to help small companies' innovation initiatives.
•· Lower interest-rate loans to help small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) grow.
•· Make permanent and raise the R&D tax credit for both product and process R&D.
•· Make permanent and raise the tax credit for collaborative research and experimentation (R&E).
•· Provide government-backed loans (50%) to SMMs upgrading outdated factories to produce advanced manufacturing products, especially those resulting from innovations.
•· Establish advanced manufacturing technology consortia that correlate manufacturing R&D investments with applied research and thereby accelerate innovations' time to market.
•· Guarantee the allocation of 5% of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funds annually to incentivize innovation in manufacturing, including the funding of applied research.
•· Establish incentives to increase SMM R&D on sustainable innovations aimed at reducing costs and risks.
•· Establish incentives to increase focus on applied research.
•· Expand Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) to serve as manufacturing process innovation centers to assist SMMs.
- Provide expanded market intelligence to SMMs.
- Use technology transfer programs to disseminate innovative ideas and information to companies.
- Expand SMM interaction with Federal labs.
Priority # 3 -- Increase Global Competitiveness for U.S. companies
•· Create a level playing field for U.S. companies involved in world trade.
•· Reform the export control system to increase trade.
•· Adopt additional free trade agreements to open more foreign markets to U.S. companies
•· Enforce trade agreements with greater vigor.
•· Secure intellectual property (IP) protection for U.S. companies involved in global trade.
•· Expand MEPs ExporTech program to provide global trade and best practices information to SMMs.
•· Establish a U.S. Credit Bank to help small manufacturers obtain business loans.
•· Require foreign nations to allow their currencies to float.
•· Minimize manufacturers' cost burdens - taxes, regulations, anti-trust rules.
•· Share ideas and information with other businesses to enhance productivity.