Wisconsin is among 10 states selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology for a year-long program aimed at connecting manufacturing initiatives to existing resources and strengthening the industry
The Policy Academy on Strengthening Your State’s Manufacturers is aimed at helping states improve collaboration, leverage existing resources and create new approaches to major challenges. It is a program of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership and is organized by the Sate Science and Technology Institute and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness.
Other states selected for the program include Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
A group that includes Buckley Brinkman, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity, Ray Cross, president of the UW System, Tricia Braun, chief operating officer of WEDC, and Wilson Jones, president and CEO of Oshkosh Corp. will travel to Washington D.C. next week for an initial kickoff event.
A “home team” that includes representatives from the Wisconsin Technical College System, Department of Workforce Development, Department of Administration, Wisconsin Pipe Trade Association, UW Stout Discovery Center and Technology Transfer Institute, OEM Fabricators, Jim Morgan of MRA, and state Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, will also be part of the program.
“Manufacturing is the economic engine of Wisconsin, making it a necessary priority for public, private and academic organizations to work together to develop and implement policies and best practices to help ensure the continued economic growth of our state,” Wisconsin’s application said.
Brinkman said he is excited for the program, noting Wisconsin’s team includes diverse representation from government, education and industry. He added the program will give state leaders an opportunity to learn from people at the leading edge of industry and with extensive policy experience.
The idea of the program is not to solve individual problems in the manufacturing sector put to develop better ways to leverage Wisconsin manufacturing’s existing and limited resources.
“Workforce is a great example,” Brinkman said. “There are probably three or four dozen workforce initiatives across the state.”
He said the idea is not to dictate anything to existing programs or even to select specific initiatives and try to scale them. Instead, Brinkman said the group’s focus will be on connecting ongoing efforts to resources and best practices.