New legislation encourages universities to improve manufacturing education
December 9, 2016 | 12:34 pm CST
Vincennes University Center for Manufacturing
Institutions like Pittsburgh State University or the Vincennes University's Center for Technology, Innovation & Manufacturing, in Jasper, Indiana (above) will benefit from new legislation.

Photo By Bill Esler

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Both houses of Congress have passed legislation that will motivate U.S. universities and qualified organizations to strengthen their manufacturing education programs. The goal is to prepare students in meeting the demands of the modern manufacturing industry.

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is based on the Manufacturing Universities legislation, led by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).  President Obama is expected to sign the NDAA into law in the coming weeks.

The bill will authorize the Department of Defense to support industry-relevant, manufacturing-focused, engineering training at U.S. universities and qualified organizations, including non-profits.  Universities and organizations would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and required to better align their educational offerings with the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers.

“Manufacturing has evolved over the years and we need to ensure engineering programs meet the demands of 21st century manufacturing," said Senator Coons.

The legislation whas already been endorsed by many U.S. universities and manufacturing associations.
“Manufacturing is vitally important to the economic wellbeing of our country, and it is critical that our schools and universities are providing students the tools they need to be successful in this field," said Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This program will go a long way in helping schools establish and modernize their curricula in manufacturing engineering.”

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at