As part of President Obama’s call for creating more high-tech manufacturing jobs in his State of the Union Address last week, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew visited the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) in Prince George County, Virginia, on Friday. Secretary Lew toured CCAM’s facility and discussed the future of U.S. manufacturing and the importance of workforce training with CCAM’s business and university partners, as well as Matt Erskine, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
“To build on the progress we have made over the last five years, we have to continue to take action to help strengthen economic growth, create jobs, and restore opportunity for all,” Secretary Lew said in statement about his visit. “CCAM is at the forefront of expanding opportunity by bringing researchers, students, and business together to drive innovation and develop advanced manufacturing technologies. It is also a powerful example of why this Administration’s focus on increasing job training, modernizing our education system, and creating manufacturing institutes is so important."
CCAM is changing the game for how we can grow manufacturing in the U.S. Their approach bridges the gap between fundamental research typically performed at universities and product development routinely performed by companies. CCAM’s members guide the research, leveraging talent and resources within CCAM and at Virginia’s top universities, through a collaborative model that enables them to pool R&D efforts to increase efficiencies. Results can then be applied directly to the factory floor, turning ideas into jobs faster and more affordably than ever before. CCAM is just one example of the federal government’s efforts to connect universities to businesses and strengthen American manufacturing and our economy through these partnerships.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been a key partner in the development of CCAM since its inception. In May 2011, EDA invested $4 million to help build the CCAM facility, which opened in September 2012. The 62,000 square-foot state-of-the-art building serves as the physical hub for university and corporation collaboration.
In October 2013, EDA, through the Administration’s multi-agency Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), awarded a $280,600 strategic planning grant to CCAM to help develop an Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice Academy Center to prepare workers in the region for careers in advanced manufacturing.
Friday’s visit to CCAM reinforces the Administration’s commitment to investing in high-tech manufacturing, research and development, and job training in order to promote real, lasting economic opportunity for all. To make sure America is better positioned than ever to compete globally, the President has proposed launching four new manufacturing institutes in 2014, a government-wide review of federal training programs to help Americans get skills in demand for good jobs, and expanding apprenticeships by mobilizing business, community colleges and labor.
Marissa Hopkins Secreto is the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the United States Department of the Treasury and Angie Martinez is the Director in the Office of External Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.