A commission that looks at the future of manufacturing in the United States is pushing a series of six proposals it says will help accelerate innovation at the country's small and medium-sized manufacturers.
A report by the Milstein Commission, out of the University of Virginia's Miller Center, recommends government-backed loans to help these small and mid-sized firms hire workers they need to expand, and to improve the skills of high school students with expanded technology and engineering certification programs. It also suggests creation of a national supply chain that will allow manufacturers to fill infrastructure gaps in a cost-effective manner and keep up with rapid changes around emerging technologies.
The main goal, according to a statement from the commission, "is producing quality employees for our workforce so (small and medium-sized manufacturers) can grow, prosper and provide more jobs, higher pay, better benefits, local and regional economic growth and a bigger, more competitive American economy: That is the social benefit, first and foremost."
The Milstein Commission is a bipartisan panel chaired by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, a Republican, and former Indiana governor and U.S. senator Evan Bayh, a Democrat.
The commission also recommends the following:
"Over the next decade, advanced technologies, major shifts in global demand, and greater emphasis on customization will fundamentally redefine manufacturing and create significant growth potential for" small to medium-sized manufacturers, said Gerald L. Baliles, director and CEO of the Miller Center and a former Democratic governor of Virginia, added in the commission's statement. "But for American firms to thrive, we must out-innovate the global competition."
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