Vermont Among 10 States Selected for Manufacturing-Focused Policy Academy
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Posted by: Jeff Couture
Vermont has been selected among 10 states from across the country to be part of a unique program designed to grow and strengthen their manufacturers. Over the course of the next year, interdisciplinary state teams will meet together in Washington, D.C., and separately in their home states, to develop and refine strategies impacting manufacturing industries.
Based on their specific needs and goals, participating states developed working teams with representatives from areas such as the private sector, governor’s offices, state workforce and economic development departments, Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers, and manufacturing trade associations, among others. The participating states are: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
“The Policy Academy process empowers states to make proactive decisions that can improve the competitiveness of their manufacturing industries,” said Dan Berglund, president and CEO of SSTI, which is helping to coordinate the academy. “Although each state is dealing with their own challenges and circumstances, there are a lot of opportunities for states and their team members to learn from each other. We hope that the process inspires states to focus their economic development strategies, improve current programs, and develop new initiatives or policies that diverse stakeholders can rally behind.”
The Policy Academy, which lasts approximately one year, guides states through a planning and implementation process to identify relevant manufacturing-related partnerships and policies to move their economic development strategies forward. Each participant receives customized facilitation and additional assistance through access to national experts, like-minded colleagues, and other resources. Examples of activities pursued by previous participants include developing a manufacturing strategic plan, addressing rural manufacturing needs, improving coordination in the economic development system, and accelerating startups and innovation-based manufacturing growth.
With support from the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), two national organizations — SSTI and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) – are coordinating the Policy Academy. NIST MEP’s mission is to enhance the productivity and technological performance of U.S. manufacturing which it does through 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and more than 1,300 manufacturing experts at over 400 service locations, providing any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources they need to succeed. SSTI works to strengthen initiatives to create a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. CREC works to provide policy-makers from around the world with the information and technical assistance they need to formulate and execute innovative, regional, job-creating economic strategies.
The 10 states applied through an RFP process and were reviewed by an independent panel of judges. Four states (Kentucky, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and Utah) were selected in 2018 to participate in the Policy Academy’s first cohort.