America Makes remains on nation’s radar

3-D printing program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) — The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, located in downtown Youngstown, has generated lots of interest nationwide.

The President mentioned it in his State of the Union address, and on Wednesday, it was the center of conversation at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., where some of the nation’s brightest manufacturing experts were focused on America Makes Director Ed Morris and Youngstown’s 3-D printing technologies.

“The progress that we have made in 18 months is just incredible,” Morris said.

The technology hub was the first of four created by the Obama administration to re-invigorate U.S. manufacturing. However, Harris could not say how many jobs America Makes has created.

“We know that we’re making a difference but we really have no good way of making a count of the jobs,” Morris said.

He told the audience what he thinks is preventing the widespread use of 3-D printing.

“It is not a shortage of technicians, it’s re-training the design engineers to design to this new capability,” Morris said.

With manufacturing accounting for 12 percent of the country’s GDP, all of the experts said the regional institutes are critical for growing this share of the economy.

“While the institutes are just one piece of the broader puzzle, I think it’s an important element in rebuilding our capabilities,” said Jason Miller, assistant to President Barack Obama.

Miller said the location of a fifth hub focusing on advanced composites will be announced this fall.

“We recognize that this will be a team effort and a big effort to make it last,” Miller said.

Morris said investment in the Youngstown hub already totals more than $30 million.

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