The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) is a federal program started in 2012 with a goal of creating up to 15 national centers for manufacturing research and innovation.
As the Brookings Institute chart below shows, so far 4 centers have been started. In all four cases, a mix of public and private money has been used to fund the centers with the private sector contributing the majority of funds.
We believe these public/private partnerships are a valuable way to improve the manufacturing economy.
Instead of relying solely on federal money, NNMI requires a grassroots effort combining local businesses, universities and governments.
In this model the federal government is a catalyst providing seed money, but the design and goals of the manufacturing centers are under local control.
One of the many benefits of this model is local small businesses get to participate. For example, a number of small manufacturing companies are involved in the Youngstown additive (3D) manufacturing center.
The NNMI program requires a very modest amount of federal money and is a great investment in our economy. Let's hope our legislative branch is smart enough to fully fund this program.