U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced bipartisan legislation to help universities in New York and throughout the country strengthen their engineering programs to meet the demands of the modern manufacturing industry. Rensselaer, a national leader in advanced manufacturing education and research, has endorsed the legislation.
The Manufacturing Universities legislation authorizes the Department of Defense to support training at U.S. universities to help equip students with skills to compete in the 21st century manufacturing workforce. Universities would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and would tailor their educational curriculum to the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers.
“The Manufacturing Universities legislation will give students many new opportunities and resources to pursue careers in manufacturing,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I fought to include this provision in the NDAA because in recent years, high-tech manufacturing companies have struggled to find qualified prospective employees to fill open positions. This provision will help our manufacturers overcome this challenge and takes important steps to give students the skills they need to compete in the 21st century manufacturing workforce.”
“On behalf of Rensselaer, we congratulate Senator Gillibrand on the passage of the Manufacturing Universities Act,” said Shekhar Garde, dean of the School of Engineering . “Rensselaer is a national leader in advanced manufacturing education and research, with vibrant programs, advanced courses, and world-class facilities. Our outstanding faculty and a diverse student body—with over 1,000 women enrolled in our Rensselaer Engineering programs—are bringing fresh new ideas and approaches to modern manufacturing.”
The Manufacturing Universities legislation will give students many new opportunities and resources to pursue careers in manufacturing.” — Senator Gillibrand
Garde also noted that Rensselaer was named a regional hub in the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute sponsored by the Department of Energy. The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the ninth manufacturing hub awarded by the Obama Administration, will focus on innovations such as smart sensors that can dramatically reduce energy expenses in advanced manufacturing, making our manufacturing sector strong today and positioning the United States to lead the manufacturing of tomorrow, helping to sustain the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing currently underway.
“The Manufacturing Universities Act will boost American competitiveness by partnering with leading universities like Rensselaer to enhance educational programming, foster partnerships with industry, and educate leaders in advanced manufacturing,” Garde said.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last week authorizes the Department of Defense to support industry-relevant, manufacturing-focused engineering training at U.S. universities. Universities and other participating organizations would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and required to better align their education programming with the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers, focusing engineering programs on development of industry-relevant advanced manufacturing skills, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing hands-on training opportunities for students, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship. This provision is based on the bipartisan Manufacturing Universities Act championed by Senator Gillibrand.
The legislation was endorsed by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Precision Metalforming Association, the National Tooling & Machining Association, the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, the University of Missouri System, the University of Illinois, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Irvine, Boston University, the University of Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the State University of New York (SUNY) System, Kent State University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Connecticut, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, The Ohio State University, Dow, DuPont, and Siemens.