Sen. Peters introduces legislation to create National Institute of Manufacturing

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters has introduced legislation to create the National Institute of Manufacturing, which would streamline national manufacturing programs.

The Michigan senator said during a press conference Wednesday that the new federal agency would be modeled after the National Institutes of Health.

Sen. Gary Peters

Peters said there are federal 58 programs spread across 11 agencies that deal with manufacturing.

“They’re not coordinated, it’s not efficient, taxpayer money is being wasted,” he said. “We need to be focused on the mission, which is to strengthen good-paying manufacturing jobs in America.”

The National Institute of Manufacturing would "speak with one voice for manufacturing in the country," he said, and allow a comprehensive strategy for enhancing manufacturing around the country.

The effort has been in the works for at least a year with the legislation building off a proposal Peters announced last year. 

Peters noted that the United States' global share of manufacturing has dropped by 35% in the last 15 years.

“We need to reverse that,” he said. “We need to make sure that we’re strengthening manufacturing, that we’re expanding manufacturing. And that means that we’re using taxpayer money much more efficiently in helping manufacturers.”

The agency would involve the creation of a chief manufacturing officer and a national manufacturing council.

Joining Peters during the press conference was Mike Coast, director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center based in Plymouth, and Bob Holloway, president of Piston Automotive based in Southfield.

Coast said that the technology center has worked with thousands of Michigan businesses. A National Institute of Manufacturing would enable his organization to better help companies navigate federal programs, he said.

“Right now the process is simply too burdensome for many of our state’s businesses on the federal level,” Coast said. “What’s worse, this will only continue as other global competitors develop manufacturing strategies that help their own manufacturers.”

Holloway said that Piston Automotive experienced supply interruptions when restarting after a more than two-month shutdown earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. He attributed that to inconsistent strategies state-to-state and country-to-country.

Holloway said what's needed is a stronger national manufacturing policy, a chief manufacturing officer and an expanded web site.

“For a company like us, we’re not a small manufacturer, we’re more mid-size, but having that one-stop centralized hub to access information, to access consistent standards, access the information relative to national strategy programs would be essential to improving the efficiencies, in improving the speed,” he said. “And that’s very important in the automotive industry.”

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN