Manufacturing Innovation

The call for federal investment in new manufacturing innovation hubs across the country. Would they make the U.S. more competitive? Should we spend the money? Where?

A workman monitors a robotic ladle moving molten zinc at ArcelorMittal Steel's hot dip galvanizing line in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio. (Mark Duncan/AP)

A workman monitors a robotic ladle moving molten zinc at ArcelorMittal Steel’s hot dip galvanizing line in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio. (Mark Duncan/AP)

Since the year 2000, the United States has lost about one-third of its manufacturing jobs.  Think about that.  One-third, in a dozen years.  About six million desirable jobs.  Just gone.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a new string of “innovation hubs” across the country to help bring back American manufacturing.  One is up, in Youngstown, Ohio.  Doing manufacturing by 3D printing.  He wants more.

In nano-tech.  Bio-manufacturing.  Lightweight materials.  More.  Should we do it?  Where?

This hour, On Point:  pushing “hubs” for an innovation nation.

-Tom Ashbrook


David Hart, Assistant Director of Innovation Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2011 to 2012, Director for the Center for Science and Technology Policy at George Mason University and Editor of “The Emergence of Entrepreneurship Policy: Governance, Start-Ups and Growth of the U.S. Knowledge Economy”.

Ralph Resnick, Founding Director of the first innovation hub, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. He is also Executive Director of the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machinery.

John Kao, Author of “Innovation Nation: How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge, Why It Matters, and What We Can Do to Get It Back”. He’s also Chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, Director of Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium, and Founding member of Cisco System’s Innovation Commission.

From Tom’s Reading List

Detroit News “The Obama administration said it wants Congress to approve $6 billion in federal tax credits for struggling factory towns and $1 billion to create innovation hubs.

‘When a major manufacturing plant closes, we have often seen vicious downward cycles in that community. We have not put forth the policy tools that allow those communities to come up with a revitalization strategy for themselves,’ White House National Economic Director Gene Sperling told reporters. ‘When they are in the process of suffering a major loss doesn’t have to wait for the downward spiral to start.’

Federal assistance ‘could make a major difference’ in attracting employers and ‘can keep people at work.’

Terra “If you are launching a business that either directly or indirectly will depend on the hot trend of 3-D printing, the Midwestern town of Youngstown, Ohio, needs to be on your radar.

Once known for its steel manufacturing prowess, Youngstown is re-emerging as the national leader of innovation in this next generation of manufacturing. Youngstown drew the spotlight last week in President Obama’s State of the Union address, when he pointed to the town as an example of a manufacturing innovation hub. He said he would use his executive authority to launch three such hubs in an effort to re-energize U.S. manufacturing.”

Reuters “China and South Korea outpace the rest of the BRICK nations in key innovation metrics, according to new research published today by the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. The report, “Building Bricks: Exploring the Global Research Impact of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Korea,” tracks global research publications, R&D spend and patent filings over a 10-year period to gauge benchmarks of economic innovation in the BRICK countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Korea.”

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