March 18, Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) joined representatives Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and Chris Collins (R-NY) in introducing the bipartisan Manufacturing Universities Act. The bill would establish the Manufacturing Universities program within the United States Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology. Colleges and universities with existing engineering programs would be eligible to apply for the Manufacturing University designation, which would include up to $5 million annually for four years to improve engineering programs with an emphasis on manufacturing.The program would also increase the number of joint projects with manufacturing firms, and support students who participate in cooperative education and apprenticeships with manufacturers.
“American manufacturing represents almost $2 trillion in economic activity each year – a figure that could increase if we invest in our workers, and narrow the skill gap that stands between the unemployed and unfilled jobs,” Tonko said. “This bicameral, bipartisan legislation is critical to educating our workforce and supporting continued economic growth through innovation. I look forward to working with representatives Esty, Collins, Meehan, Davis and Thompson to see this bill passed and having New York’s robust manufacturing sector, working in concert with our fine colleges and universities, provide fertile ground for continued job growth.”
The Manufacturing Universities Act has been referred to the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee. The bill is bipartisan and bicameral. The companion bill in the Senate was introduced by senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
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