July 26, 2017

Panelists from left to right: Denise Peppard, Stephan Ezell, Laine Mears, Laurie Leshin, Brennan Grignon                                                                                                                     Photo by Caitlyn Maginniss

On July 25, ASME sponsored a Congressional briefing on the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program, held in the U.S. Capitol with over 120 attendees. The House and Senate Manufacturing Caucuses hosted the panel discussion with subject matter experts on how the Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program will work to strengthen the U.S. economy and national security, while safeguarding the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Dr. Said Jahanmir, ASME President-nominee, provided welcoming remarks, and Dr. Thomas Kurfess from Georgia Institute of Technology, who also serves as an ASME Manufacturing Public Policy Task Force Co-Chair, moderated the briefing. Panelists included Brennan Grignon from the Department of Defense, Dr. Laurie Leshin from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Dr. Laine Mears from Clemson University, Stephen Ezell from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), and Denise Peppard from Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program was signed into law in December 2016 as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), thereby authorizing the Department of Defense to support industry-relevant, manufacturing-focused, engineering training at U.S. institutions of higher education, universities, industry, and not-for-profit institutions. Grantees are selected through a competitive process on the merits of better aligning their educational offerings with the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers.

This new program has great potential to strengthen national security and increase economic competitiveness by improving and modernizing the U.S. industrial base. Through this program, students, technologists, and manufactures will be better equipped to manufacture U.S. military equipment and technology domestically, protecting and securing the future of the American Warfighter. The Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program will not only strengthen the U.S. military’s capabilities, but will also allow the U.S. to compete against other nations economically as well.

In the area of advanced manufacturing, the U.S. is currently competing commercially against a range of European and Asian nations for global innovation advantage in areas of advanced manufacturing. Countries such as Germany and Austria, who dedicate a larger percentage of their economy to manufacturing (23 percent and 19 percent respectively) than the United States (12 percent) are pursuing several workforce development initiatives that call for revamping engineering curriculum and workforce training opportunities to better align manufacturing and engineering education more closely with the current and future needs of industry.

The briefing has been recorded and is posted on the House Manufacturing Caucus website:

Learn more here about the caucus here:


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