One of the ambitious federal plans for manufacturing is the creation of industry "hubs" around the country, which promote private-public partnerships between companies in the manufacturing industry, local research institutions and government agencies. Unveiled over the last several months by the Obama administration, the goal to revive urban centers around the country with industrial activity has earned praise from industry groups.
This week, the president announced the addition of seven more hubs to the proposal, joining 45 that have already been announced. By selecting cities that are geographically widespread, the aim of program architects is to bring greater economic recovery to every region of the United States. The plan for innovation centers has gained support from politicians on both sides of the political aisle, with launches beginning this year.
"Lawmakers have funded nine new hubs through fiscal year 2015," reports Manufacturing.net. "The fifth of those nine, an Energy Department cluster aimed at reducing the cost and energy needed make advanced composites, was dedicated last month in Tennessee at a ceremony that included that state's GOP governor and both Republican senators."
For large manufacturing operations and machine shops alike, the program could lead to a spike in activity and innovation in regional markets. So far, $1.9 billion has been allocated to the first 29 hubs, with about $350 million allocated to the creation of the additional hubs. This comes after last fall, when the president earmarked $530 million in federal funds to promote advanced manufacturing around the country.
By partnering with government agencies and university research operations, the manufacturing industry stands to gain a wealth of knowledge and capability that could lead to rapid innovation for industrial companies, especially as the plans continue to expand.