Federal Government Working to Generate Next Generation Manufacturing Base
By Ann Grackin
on Jul 20, 2010
President Obama opened a new battery plant in Holland, Michigan this week.
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New plants focused on clean energy are popping up around the US. (See Channel 8 TV from Michigan here).
Though there seems to be some ‘policy’ debate noise, this action, part of the stimulus efforts as well as the new energy policy, is merely an extension of what many administrations have done for many decades in many industries in the US.
Our government has invested in any technology or product that has been deemed strategic or essential for the ‘common welfare.’ (This is not a statement on whether government should or should not grant these types of funds, just that it is not new.) From the stringing of the national telephone ‘wired system’ to national highways. In the 1980s the US was fearful of the 'Japanese product wave.' And thus the birth of Sematech. The US government matched investments by big electronics firms for research in technology and process to improve the semiconductor industry.
Born in a less partisan era, I do not recall the grating language and hostility for that and other government programs like the Baldridge quality award (right), major NIST funding, and so much more to create a quality focused manufacturing base and improve the US manufacturing base. And it worked. The US leads in quality now.
As we discussed in an earlier issue, it has also been a US M.O. to support R&D in research as well as education programs.
No doubt, we have a huge deficit challenge to address, and that will mean much more precision spending that is most likely to build a better future for the US.