When the Republican and Democratic national conventions are held later this month, they will wrap up a hard-fought and dramatic year-and-a-half long primary campaign season. The two contenders left standing, business leader Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, clinched their parties’ nominations weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tune in to what’s happening. Not only will the Trump and Clinton nominations become official, but the party platforms will be adopted and introduced to American voters.  We’ll learn in more concrete and specific terms where the candidates stand on important policy proposals and what they pledge to work toward if elected. 

The GOP convention will be held in Cleveland July 18-21; the Democratic convention is July 25-28 in Philadelphia. 

By next month, Donald Trump should have an action plan for manufacturing in place. I’ll feature it in my August column.

Manufacturing Universities Act approved by Senate

Congressional leaders are working to reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill establishes funding levels for defense in the next fiscal year and sets the policies under which money will be spent. It can also include other provisions. An amendment to the Senate version includes a bipartisan stand-alone bill that aims to help U.S. universities strengthen their engineering programs to meet the demands of today’s manufacturing industry. The Manufacturing Universities Act authorizes the Defense Department to support industry-relevant, manufacturing-focused engineering programs at universities around the country.  Institutions would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and required to better align their educational offerings with the needs of U.S. manufacturers.

Smart Manufacturing Institute announced

The Smart Machine Leadership Coalition, with headquarters in Los Angeles, will lead a new manufacturing innovation institute (MII) funded in part by the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Program. The Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute collaborators are tasked with developing smart sensors and new process controls to improve the efficiency of advanced manufacturing. Five regional manufacturing centers – based in California, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington – will be launched as part of the effort, each focused on local technology transfer and workforce development. This is the third institute led by DoE and the ninth established by the Obama administration. 

Five new manufacturing institute competitions have also been announced: Robotics in Manufacturing Environments, Advanced Tissue Biofabrication; Modular Chemical Process Intensification; Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions; and the first “open topic” industry-proposed institute. 

For more information on the current MII competitions and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, visit manufacturing.gov.