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The Manufacturing Universities Act 2015

A bipartisan and bicameral coalition of lawmakers have introduced the Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015 to Congress to help strengthen university engineering programs and better align educational offerings with the needs of 21st century manufacturing. Over half a million manufacturing jobs have been created over the last three years, but thousands remain unfilled because of the lack of trained workers. This bipartisan bill hopes to revitalize U.S. manufacturing by equipping the next generation of engineers with the necessary skills and training to thrive in the manufacturing workforce.

The legislation allows for colleges and universities with existing engineering programs to apply for 'Manufacturing University' designation, which includes $5 million annually over a four year period to meet industry specific goals. These goals include, creating more manufacturing-focused engineering programs, building partnerships with manufacturing firms, and positively impacting local and regional economic development by growing training opportunities and fostering a culture of manufacturing entrepreneurship.

The program would be nestled within the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and would run in coordination with the Secretaries of Defense and Energy, and the Director of the National Science Foundation, among others. The legislation in the House was introduced by Reps. Elizabeth Etsy (D-CT), Chris Collins (D-NY), Patrick Meehan (R- PA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) and its companion bill in the Senate was introduced by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kristen Gilibrand (D-NY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).