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America's Future Job Growth Depends on Innovation

 

By Congressman Dan Lipinksi (IL-3)

 

Many Americans are uneasy about our nation’s future and wonder how we will make America an economic powerhouse again. An important part of the answer is innovation. Through innovation America can create the new products and new industries that will provide the job growth we so desperately need.

One way to promote innovation is through public-private partnerships. As a strong supporter of American manufacturing, I was very pleased that a group led by Chicago-based UI Labs has received a $70 million award from the Defense Department to form the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation (DMDI) Institute. I have been a very strong proponent of this institute that will use high tech tools to spur manufacturing innovation.

Private industry has already promised to contribute more than $250 million to the DMDI Institute. Leading partners include General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, Boeing, Deere, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Illinois Tool Works, and PARC. The fact that these companies are willing to invest so much demonstrates the confidence that industry has in this lab.  It has the potential to re-invigorate American manufacturing and put the Chicago area on the cutting edge of manufacturing innovation.

I’m a co-sponsor of H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013, which would authorize the creation of similar institutes across the country that would each be focused on a unique technology, material, or process relevant to advanced manufacturing. 

But the fight to promote manufacturing jobs requires work on multiple fronts.

To encourage continued private industry investment in research and development, I support expanding and making permanent the Research and Development tax credit. 

 

 

To help American manufacturers maintain their edge, I helped write and pass into law legislation that authorizes a new high-tech manufacturing research program.  It provides small and medium-sized manufacturers with improved access to powerful supercomputers at our National Laboratories, and includes loan guarantees for manufacturers for the use or production of innovative technologies. 

And I continue to push for my American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act which would require a panel of experts from the public and private sectors to make policy recommendations every four years about how to best promote American manufacturing. These could include policy changes in any area including taxes, regulations, trade agreements, research funding, etc.

Americans need jobs and manufacturing can help provide some of those jobs at good wages.  But America must continue to innovate if we are going to see those jobs created.