The NAM is pleased that Senator Hatch’s amendment just passed by voice vote. The amendment creates a green card fee whose funds will go to the states to focus on STEM education. This concept is also included in the Hatch Klobuchar I-Squared bill also supported by manufacturers. Investing in domestic STEM education is necessary for the success of US manufacturers. We need to improve the domestic pipeline of talent in the STEM fields to secure the next generation of scientists and researchers. We appreciate Senator Hatch and the committees’ strong support for this effort.
Tag: STEM education
There are many flaws with the President’s budget, but on a positive note is the commitment to career and technical education. Not everyone needs to attain a four-year degree to have a successful career. Obtaining a nationally-portable, industry-recognized post-secondary credential will allow for potential workers to know they are being trained in the skills that employers need today. The President’s budget specifically addresses reforming career and technical education to “better align program with the needs of employers…to ensure that graduates are poised to succeed.” This is a philosophically important point that is of utmost importance to manufacturers. Manufacturers need a strong technical workforce and we are pleased that the administration values this goal.
The budget also asks for $8 million for a Community College fund to support partnerships with business. Manufacturers are already on the ground across the country looking to align community college curriculum to industry-recognized credentials. So, while we appreciate this effort, we are also concerned that there is not more of an emphasis on making existing workforce training programs more efficient by eliminating the bureaucracy and streamlining existing programs, such as the Workforce Investment Act. Our goals are the same but in some cases our process diverges. We look forward to working with the administration on training initiatives that focus on jobs and skills in-demand today as well as training the workforce for the future.
The testimony of Texas Instruments’ (TI) CEO, Richard Templeton at the House Science and Technology Committee 2/6 hearing on “American Competitiveness: The Role of Research and Development,” endorsed key principles of NAM’s Innovation Policy Agenda with laser precision. His support of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education; reversing the growing skills gap in the United State; boosting underfunded federal, basic research spending; fixing the high skilled immigration system; and providing robust, competitive R&D tax incentives are all smart policies that will drive future innovation and job growth in our country.
Templeton got it right about the role research plays in advancing America’s competitiveness: “…federal funding of fundamental scientific research is critical to our nation’s continued competitiveness, economic growth and workforce development” as basic research is the key to unlocking future innovation in the United States. This is important because innovation has a proven track record in helping manufacturers companies to grow. Manufacturers lead all industries in innovation investments, accounting for 70 percent of all private sector research and development spending. This investment results in new product development, increased productivity, and job creation, not to mention the societal spillover benefits that improve our country’s standard of living.
Other countries recognize the exponential value of being home to world class innovation and have enacted attractive innovation policies to lure future R&D activity outside the United States. Templeton’s testimony gives credence to this global competition by citing a disturbing trend — OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) data showing a decline in the U.S. share of global R&D as a percent of GDP from 39 percent to 34 percent from 1999-2010. He cites other stark statistics such as our current skills gap that “…for every unemployed person in the United States, there are two STEM job postings,” which should be a wakeup call for policymakers.
The NAM joins Mr. Templeton in urging lawmakers to enact smart policies that will reverse this trend and drive future innovation in the United States. A first step would be to avert the across-the- board spending cuts from the sequester set to occur March 1. These arbitrary cuts will foolishly cut federal funding of basic research programs and STEM education. An op-ed coauthored by Mr. Templeton appearing 2/6 in Politico sums up the expected negative impact on innovation from sequestration: “…there will be a significant, long-term irreparable price to pay if the U.S. government slashes its support for science and engineering and for those who pursue those fields.”
Doesn’t this impending sequester of federal programs that spur innovation reflect the old adage “penny wise, pound foolish”? These imprudent budget cuts if allowed to occur will be a direct hit at future innovation and economic growth that will reverberate for years to come.
NAM applauds Mr. Templeton’s voice for pro-innovation policy that will result in unleashing future American innovation and create a 21st century workforce to meet the needs of manufacturing. Lawmakers would be prudent to act on his recommendations.
With the summer months behind us and school back in full swing, some students are fortunate enough to return to the classroom with valuable internship experience that will set them up for future academic and professional success. FMC Corporation took on the challenge this summer to increase the number of STEM college internships – a challenge that they more than met, successfully tripling internship placements compared to last summer.
FMC’s internship program placed students at sites across the United States and even abroad in places like Brussels and Shanghai. Interns are able to work on significant projects that directly helped FMC operations. NAM board member and president of FMC Specialty Chemicals, Michael Wilson pointed out that “through internships we can directly impact the future of manufacturing by showing students the many exciting career opportunities open to them in science based companies”.
FMC’s accomplishment is an important step in the effort to increase attention to STEM education. With 600 thousand manufacturing jobs going unfilled, the Manufacturing Institute has taken the lead on addressing the deficits in manufacturing education and training. Getting students exposed to exciting careers available in manufacturing is a great place to start and we commend FMC on their efforts!
Heck of a day in Hillsboro. With President Obama on hand, Intel CEO Paul Otellini made some news, “President Obama Visits Intel’s Oregon Research and Manufacturing Site, Highlights Education, Jobs and Innovation.” Highlights:
- Intel hosts President Obama at its world-class semiconductor research and manufacturing site in Hillsboro, Ore.
- President discusses jobs and competitiveness in the global economy.
- Intel CEO Paul Otellini announces plans to build a new $5 billion-plus factory in Arizona.
- Otellini also reveals plans to hire 4,000 new U.S. employees this year.
- Education showcased as the President meets with science and math students.
From Otellini’s remarks, the portion describing the new plant going up at Intel’s Ronler Acres site in Hillsboro.
This new factory will play a central role extending Intel’s unquestioned leadership in semiconductor
manufacturing. The transistors and chips it will produce will be the most dynamic platform for innovation
that our company has ever created. Together they will enable more capable computers, the most
advanced consumer electronics and mobile devices, the brains inside the next generation of robotics, and
thousands of other applications that have yet to be invented…. (continue reading…)
From The White House, “Background on the President’s Trip to Intel and Investments in Education“:
This Friday, the President will travel to Hillsboro, Oregon and visit Intel Corporation where he will tour the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility with Intel CEO Paul Otellini. The President will also learn more about Intel’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs and Intel’s efforts to better prepare people to compete for high-tech jobs and be the minds behind the next great inventions. He will then make remarks about the importance of out-educating the competition in order to win the future…
Companies like Intel are helping us achieve these important education and innovation goals. They know that government and industry must work together so that America can out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of world. Over the past decade, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion toward improving education. In 2010, in conjunction with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign, Intel announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to advance education in math and science in the U.S. Intel is also one of four founding companies of Change the Equation, a CEO-led initiative designed to answer the president’s call to move the U.S. to the top in science and math education over the next decade.
The President’s remarks will be webcast at WhiteHouse.gov starting at 2:35 p.m. Eastern time, which is 11:35 a.m. Hillsboro time.
There’s more detail on the President’s schedule today here. He’s flying into Portland International Airport, on the east side of PDX. (The Hillsboro airport is a good-size operation and less than a half-mile from the Intel plant. Must still be too small.)
On Friday, the President will visit Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon. While at Intel the President will tour the world’s most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility as well as learn more about Intel’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education programs.
The President will appear with Intel President Paul Otellini, USA TODAY reports.
John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, last week joined six other leaders in education, technology and business in urging the Senate to move quickly and pass the America COMPETES Act. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Ranking Member McConnell, the signers explained the legislation’s critical importance to education and U.S. competitiveness. Excerpt:
The original America COMPETES Act, enacted with strong bipartisan support in 2007, was designed to respond to concerns raised by the seminal National Academies’ report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The Act has played a crucial role in charting our nation’s path forward by focusing attention on the critical steps our nation must take to foster innovation and keep the United States competitive in the global economy – investing in basic research and our workforce through effective STEM programs. However, the original COMPETES Act was meant to be the first, three-year installment of a longer-term commitment toward achieving these goals. Sustaining these investments in research, and developing a highly educated, scientifically literate workforce are both essential to our country’s continued success in making the scientific discoveries and developing the cutting-edge technologies that will propel our economy in the future.
As the letter concludes: “We recognize the dire fiscal challenges facing the nation and the difficult choices on federal spending that policymakers must make. Continued strong funding of basic research and STEM education programs will help ensure the economic growth needed torestore long-term fiscal strength and national prosperity.”
The other signers: (continue reading…)
The House today voted 292-126 to return the America COMPETES Act reauthorization bill to committee, including instructions to amend the bill. The Chronicle of Higher Education nicely covers the issues at play (with an obvious emphasis the university R&D angle), “House Republicans Block Bid to Increase Federal Support for Scientific Research“:
A Democrat-led effort to expand federal support for university research hit a roadblock on Thursday when the House of Representatives accepted a Republican proposal to trim spending levels and impose new conditions on the government and on institutions.
The House voted, 292 to 126, in favor of the Republican proposal, effectively halting Democratic plans to pass a five-year renewal of the America Competes Act. Congress first approved the bill in 2007 with the goal of doubling within seven years the total amount of federal spending on long-term basic research.
The hot-button issue pushed by the Republicans was a ban on spending federal money for salaries of employees disciplined for viewing pornography on office computers.
But it would be a mistake to dismiss the criticism of overspending. The public IS worried by federal spending and debt. The Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry blog hit on those points in a post earlier this week, “The America Competes Act: Business-As-Usual in Washington.”
The NAM had issued a Key Vote letter in support of the legislation earlier this week.
The NAM strongly supports reauthorization of the COMPETES Act, as its programs are working to strengthen innovation in the U.S. manufacturing sector and to build a stronger workforce. Key programs in H.R. 5116 of significant interest to manufacturers include: federal funding for basic R&D; the Advanced Research Projects Administration for Energy (ARPA-E); the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which helps thousands of small and medium manufacturers increase their productivity and technological capabilities; and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education grants that will help increase the number and quality of students receiving degrees in areas of importance to manufacturers.
The House Science and Technology Committee has a variety of background materials on the legislation.
NAM President John Engler testified on the legislation before the committee at a Jan. 20 hearing, “America COMPETES: Big Picture Perspectives on the Need for Innovation, Investments in R&D and a Commitment to STEM Education.” Engler’s opening statement is here.