Marquette Mining Journal: Peters’ bill will support business

MARQUETTE — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, introduced legislation last week that would help strengthen the manufacturing industry by creating a National Institute of Manufacturing.

The National Institute of Manufacturing, or NIM, would “streamline the dozens of federal manufacturing programs spread across a number of agencies all under one roof,” Peters noted. Modeled after the National Institute of Health, the NIM would increase efficiencies throughout federal programs, provide the federal government more ability to respond to rapid change in global manufacturing and raise the profile of manufacturing in the federal government. This legislation will help enhance manufacturing jobs and assist private manufacturers as well, he said.

By implementing this legislation, manufacturing will be made more of a top priority not only on a state level but a national level as well with the goal of remaining as the world leader in manufacturing, Peters remarked.

“In some ways (it’s) a really broad recognition of the fact that we need to have a comprehensive view of how we strengthen manufacturing. Our global competitors do this, they do it successfully. When you think of the success from Korea and places like Germany, who understand that manufacturing is absolutely critical to their national economies,” he said. “They work in a cooperative way with private industries to make that industry stronger and enhance employment in their countries. We need to do the same thing here in the United States.”

In Michigan, manufacturing takes up 20% of the overall economy and it’s a major contribution that leaders have to continue strengthening and expanding, Peters said, adding that he’s been working on this legislation for some time with manufacturers across the nation to help draft the National Institute of Manufacturing Act.

“… I’ve always been a believer in the fact that you can’t be a great country if you don’t actually make things. Manufacturing is an incredibly important driver to our overall economy. In fact, I think the evidence is clear: for every dollar that is invested in manufacturing, it has about a 3-to-1 spillover to the overall economy. It’s a true driver of the economic engine,” he said.

The proposed legislation would also create a chief manufacturing officer and a National Manufacturing Council to serve as a voice in Congress to help advocate for change and to see what gaps exist in the current system from workforce training, research and development, to trade policy, he added.

“To be able to assist these small companies, to be more successful, to hire more people and good-paying jobs is the goal of this agency. It will provide a one-stop hub for those industries to provide feedback to the federal government as to what’s working and what’s not,” he said. “It also will be very helpful in terms of regulations as regulations are put forward by the federal government. We’ll have one voice to actually look at those regulations to see if they make sense.”

By:  Jackie Jahfetson
Source: Marquette Mining Journal