Kick Starting the American Innovation Engine with Manufacturing Hubs

Accounting for roughly 12 percent of U.S. GDP, the manufacturing sector is an important driver of the economy and job creation. President Obama has repeatedly emphasized the importance of creating sustained growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector. President Obama’s FY2013 budget proposal included a one-time, $1 billion investment into building a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMMI). The NMMI will add 15 “Regional Manufacturing Hubs”, intended to spearhead a resurgence of the U.S. manufacturing sector. Since the opening of the first hub in Youngstown, Ohio, the administration has also designated Chicago, Detroit, and Raleigh as hubs. This network is currently managed by an interagency program consisting of Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA, National Science Foundation, and Department of Education, among others.

The John White, Jr. Forum on Public Policy

On July 9, Governance Studies at Brookings will host a half-day conference focused on manufacturing expansion policies and their efficacy and impact on the future of U.S. innovation.  Panels will focus on the impact of the Regional Manufacturing Hubs and other policy initiatives that aim to spur growth of the United States’ industrial economic base.  Questions to be explored include: Are the Regional Manufacturing Hubs working and have they improved America’s global competitiveness? How will these regional innovation hotspots change the future of U.S. manufacturing? How might these hubs be replicated elsewhere in the country? And what are the key challenges, opportunities, and lessons we should take from the hubs experiment?

This conference will mark the third annual John White, Jr. Forum on Public Policy, which convenes leaders from academia, business, and government to discuss and identify solutions to the United States’ most pressing challenges.  Register to attend or watch the webcast here.

Kevin Risser contributed to this post