Schumer announces legislation to establish first-ever national network of advanced manufacturing hubs

February 22, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Meredith Kelly (202.224.7433)

February 21, 2013

One week after President Obama called for a National Manufacturing Network in his state of the union:

Schumer announces legislation to establish first-ever nat’l network of advanced manufacturing hubs – plan could boost manufacturing innovation at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, a prime candidate for one of 15 hubs

Rochester’s Eastman Business Park Is Ideal Candidate for Photonics/Optics Tech Hub;
Could Help Develop New Companies & Commercial Products and Create Hundreds of Jobs

Schumer Highlighted Eastman Business Park’s Potential As “National Institute” Under His Proposal – Eastman Business Park and Rochester Photonics Companies Have Already Linked Up with Feds to Help Develop Program

Schumer: Upstate NY Deserves Chance to Lead Nation in Advanced Manufacturing

Today, at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer joined local experts in optics technology and high-tech manufacturing to launch the first-ever plan to create a national network of manufacturing hubs, with the aim of bringing one to Upstate New York. Schumer highlighted that the Eastman Business Park, one of the largest manufacturing parks in the country, is home to cutting-edge, high-tech companies in need of advanced research support in the manufacturing technologies of tomorrow. For the first time, Schumer revealed details of the legislation that he is crafting with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Act of 2013 that would authorize the creation of 15 unique manufacturing hubs throughout the country, through a competitive application process.

Schumer noted that the purpose of the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI), as highlighted in President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, is to help small and medium sized companies conduct research and development in advanced manufacturing technologies.

Schumer also stated that Rochester stakeholders are hoping to establish a NNMI hub, and that leading institutions, business, and economic development organizations such as the Eastman Business Park, University at Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology and others are formulating plans to pursue a manufacturing hub. Schumer noted that industry and research partnerships in places like Buffalo and Albany could also be candidates for this new hub designation. If selected, the research and investment being done at Eastman Business Park would expand exponentially, and would encourage business development and create new jobs in the region.

“Upstate New York deserves the chance to lead the nation in high-tech manufacturing, and the first-ever legislation that I’m proposing today, which would mean massive investment in research and job creation at 15 manufacturing hubs, could do just that,” said Schumer. “In an effort to maximize the potential of regions like Rochester, that have a storied history and promising future in high-tech research, innovation and manufacturing, I am launching a plan to create a national network of fifteen manufacturing hubs that will make our country more competitive and bring more jobs to the USA. With its workforce, universities, optics industry cluster, high tech manufacturers, and infrastructure like Eastman Business Park, Rochester has key assets to compete effectively in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation program. I’m thrilled to give them that chance with this legislation.”

Last year, as part of his budget for fiscal year 2013, President Obama recommended investing $1 billion to create a network of 15 manufacturing hubs called Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI). While an initial pilot hub center was opened in Ohio in 2012, and President Obama indicated his desire to create three additional pilot centers on an interim basis funded through the Energy and Defense Departments, ultimately the President urged Congress in his State of the Union Address last week to pass this legislation authorizing the full network of centers. Schumer, in partnership with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will lead the charge and introduce the first-ever legislation to create these unique manufacturing hubs – each intended to specialize in its own specialized technology. It is expected the President will again request $1 billion in his fiscal year 2014 budget that will be released next month, which along with the passage of the Senator’s authorizing legislation will kick-start the creation of these 15 manufacturing hubs.

The goal of this investment is to more closely connect research and development activities to the utilization of technological innovations in American manufacturing. Schumer shares the President’s vision for a concrete plan that trains American workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs and creates incentives to keep jobs in the United States. In his State of the Union address, the President expressed his commitment to partner with businesses with the goal of investing in American-made technologies and American workers.

The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Act of 2013 will aim to bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and the National Science Foundation, and state, tribal and local governments to accelerate manufacturing innovation. Specifically, the legislation would establish public-private Institutes that leverage investments in industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications to bridge the gap between basic research and product development, provide shared assets to help companies – particularly small and medium-size manufacturing enterprises – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. Each Institute will serve as a regional hub of manufacturing excellence, providing the innovation infrastructure to support regional manufacturing and ensuring that our manufacturing sector is a key pillar in an economy that is built to last. This model has been successfully deployed in other countries and would address a gap in the U.S. manufacturing innovation infrastructure.

An inter-agency program management team would be responsible for defining the NNMI design, managing an open, competitive selection process and executing the awards process. Awards would be in the form of grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements, and could be executed in multiple rounds of awards. Awardees would be expected to show how the federal investment stimulates investment from the organizations and institutions making up the partnership entity or from other non-federal sources.

Schumer noted that there are several public-private partnerships in Upstate New York that would vie for this nationwide manufacturing designation. Rochester, Schumer noted, would be a prime candidate for one of these hubs. The NNMI would complement and promote Rochester’s current manufacturing capabilities. The Eastman Business Park is now home to 35 top-tier companies engaged in manufacturing and research. Just as many of these companies have located to the Park to repurpose or leverage its unique assets and infrastructure to accelerate their own companies' growth, a potential NNMI center at the Park could offer similar advantages to a host of new companies.

During a tour of Eastman Business Park in October and in subsequent meetings, Schumer has met with Eastman Business Park officials and local university and business leaders about their ideas to leverage Eastman Business Park once NNMI is authorized. In preparation, several meetings have been convened by stakeholders in the larger local optics industry, EBP, and academia including a planning meeting in December at the University of Rochester that drew over 100 business and community leaders to discuss ways that Rochester can compete for an NNMI structured around Rochester’s industrial assets in photonic and optics and physical assets like at Eastman Business Park. Through a potential designation as one of 15 hubs, Rochester area companies have the potential to make advances in fields such as Advanced Display Technology, Photonic Devises, Optical Manufacturing, and Industrial Lasers while creating new companies and jobs. For example, the existing roll-to-roll and thin film production equipment that now exists at Eastman Business Park can be used to accelerate a host of new Advanced Display Technology products and technologies.

In particular, the capabilities at Eastman Business Park help turn research and development ideas into new products by facilitating the progression from an idea to a commercial product, through the research, prototype, test production, and ultimately full production stages. This would be magnified should Rochester be selected as a manufacturing hub. Accelerating new technology into the marketplace is a key goal of the NNMI program. Additionally, successful NNMI proposals will harness a critical mass of small and medium sized companies because these companies are often the most innovative and can complement each other’s work. Locally Rochester's optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI) cluster is one of the oldest and largest industrial clusters in the US with over 50 companies employing 19,000 people within a 20 mile radius of downtown Rochester. Moreover, Schumer emphasized that institutions like the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology offer an unparalleled education in manufacturing through innovative and interdisciplinary courses supplemented by experiential learning, applied research, and scholarship.

Schumer was joined at Eastman Business Park by Mike Alt, Director of Eastman Business Park; Brad Kruchten President of Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films and Senior Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. ; RIT President William Destler; University of Rochester President Joel Seligman; Robert Clark, Interim Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Rochester; Mark Bocko, Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UR; Ryne Raffaelle, RIT Vice President for Research and Associate Provost; Paul Ballentine, University of Rochester CEIS Deputy Director & Director of Rochester Regional Photonics Accelerator; Jay Eastman, Chief Science Officer of Lucid Inc.; John Hart, President of Lumetrics and President of the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC); Tom Battley, Executive Director of RRPC.