Connections for Success

 

03.26.15

Uncle Sam Wants You to Invest in Technology and Training
Tanya Gierut

The White House recently announced a series of executive actions for subsidies totaling roughly $550 million from NASA and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Defense for investments in advanced manufacturing. These actions provide financial incentives for your company to increase spending on technology and training.

These plans are based on recommendations from the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a working group of government, academic and private sector participants to bolster U.S. competitiveness in industrial manufacturing. They are based on the following three pillars of support.

Enable Innovation

President Obama has allocated more than $300 million to match private sector investments in advanced materials, including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing, and digital manufacturing. In addition, the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy and NASA plan to work with manufacturing companies and universities to establish “technology testbeds” within two federal research facilities where companies can design and test new products and processes.

Secure the Talent Pipeline

A 2014 Manufacturing Institute survey reports that 75% of manufacturers suffer from shortages of skilled labor, which is compounded by misperceptions the general public has about modern careers in manufacturing. To turn things around, the executive actions include a $100 million American Apprenticeship Grants competition aimed at spurring new hands-on apprenticeship models. The competition is expected to develop a national system of skills certifications and accreditation, capture the talent pool of returning veterans, invest in demand-driven community college apprenticeship programs and document best practices in developing career pathways in advanced manufacturing.

Improve the Business Climate

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that small and medium-size manufacturers represent 89% of U.S. manufacturing firms, but they often lack the resources to invest in and capitalize on technology innovations. So, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership will pilot a competition for $130 million over five years across 10 states to help smaller manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market.

In addition to these federal technology and training subsidies, manufacturers also may be eligible for tax breaks for qualifying research and development expenditures (QREs), including wages, supplies, and certain consulting and contract research fees related to qualified research activities.

For any questions, contact Tanya Gierut at [email protected] or 312.670.7444. Visit orba.com to learn more about our Manufacturing & Distribution Group.

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