Klein proposes amendment to federal America Competes Act
From the Congressional Office of Rep. Ron Klein:
The Klein amendment to the America COMPETES Act(Click here to see bill), which passed the House today, provides critical support to small manufacturing businesses in South Florida.
Klein’s amendment is based on ideas brought to him by local businesses and groups like the South Florida Manufacturing Association. His language directs an existing program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to increase its focus on the needs of small businesses. The amendment calls for solutions to obstacles that prevent small companies from effectively competing in the global market as well as a comprehensive plan to make sure that existing MEP centers meet the needs of small businesses.
MEP is a national network of nearly 400 not-for-profit centers and field offices nationwide that provide manufacturers with assistance training their employees, adopting new technology and more. They work to help businesses modernize their operations and reduce manufacturing costs. Small businesses make up the vast majority of manufacturing firms in the United States and are critical to our industrial and technological competitiveness.
The underlying legislation, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5116)
Create jobs and supports manufacturers and industry by:
- Providing innovative technology federal loan guarantees for small- and medium-sized manufacturers, to help them access capital to become more efficient and stay competitive
- Coordinating manufacturing research and development carried out across the federal government
- Authorizing NSF to support fundamental research leading to transformative advances in manufacturing
- Reorganizing NIST labs to reflect the multidisciplinary nature of technology and better meet the needs of industry in the 21st century
- Giving NIST a role in facilitating cross-agency coordination when the federal government is involved with the development of international technical standards, that supplements the agency’s current role in helping develop technical standards within the U.S, to help drive competition, increase product choices, and lower costs
- Ensuring that the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program at NIST better reflects the needs and challenges facing manufacturers today.
- Providing Manufacturing Extension Partnership program centers with 50 percent of the cost incurred to run the center, up from one-third, to strengthen their financial status during this difficult economic time.
- Directing the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers to inform local community colleges of the skill sets that are needed by area manufacturers, to help ensure that students have the specific job training necessary to secure a good-paying job in their community.
- Working to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in reducing their energy use and environmental waste (NIST).
Fosters innovation and basic research by:
- Supporting new Regional Innovation Clusters to strengthen regional economies and advance the work in a given field by leveraging collaboration and communication between businesses and other entities.
- Reauthorizing the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (APRA-E) which is pursuing high-risk, high-reward energy technology development. Created in 2009, ARPA-E is modeled after DARPA which created a culture of innovation and lead to breakthroughs like GPS and the Internet.
- Establishing Energy Innovation Hubs – multidisciplinary collaborations that support research, development, and commercial application of advanced energy technologies, with activities of each Hub centralized at one location where possible. Each Hub will have a single technological focus that currently presents a critical barrier to achieving our national energy innovation goals.
- Making permanent the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Department of Commerce, which works with businesses to overcome barriers to commercializing the results of new research and to speed the market application of the new technologies, products, processes and services that will grow our economy and create jobs.
- Directing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to invest at least five percent of its research budget in high-risk, high-reward basic research.
- Reauthorizing and keeping the following science and innovation research on a doubling path:
- the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of research in the physical sciences in America,
- National Science Foundation, which supports fundamental research and education in all non-medical fields of science and engineering, and
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Labs
- A new report demonstrates the economic importance of basic research, identifying 100 companies borne of federal investments in basic research, including Google, Genentech, and A123 Systems — employing more than 100,000 people.
- About two-thirds of basic research is supported by federal agencies, with NSF funding paving the way for the method of ranking websites by links, a cornerstone of Google.
Improves STEM education and ensure a prepared workforce by:
- Expanding, strengthening, and aligning STEM education programs at all levels of education:
- Updating the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, which trains highly competent secondary teachers in STEM fields to teach in high need schools, by reducing the match requirement and allowing more schools to participate in the program;
- Providing grants to increase the number and quality of students receiving undergraduate degrees in STEM and to improve the STEM learning outcomes for all undergraduate students;
- Providing grants to implement or expand research-based reforms in master’s and doctoral level STEM education that emphasize preparation for diverse careers in the STEM workforce; and
- Establishing fellowships to provide recent doctoral degree graduates in STEM fields with the necessary skills to assume leadership roles in STEM education research, program development, and evaluation of education programs.
- Ensuring greater coordination of STEM education programs across federal agencies.
- Increasing participation by women and minorities in STEM fields to strengthen and diversify the STEM workforce:
- Providing institutional integration grants to help colleges and universities increase retention, recruitment and degree attainment of underrepresented groups in STEM by looking for synergies across scattered campus efforts;
- Ensuring that smaller institutions, including minority serving institutions, are integrated more fully into research partnerships with research universities; and
- Prioritizing inclusion of minority serving institutions under the Partnerships for Innovation program.
What People are Saying About the America COMPETES Act
National Association of Manufacturers
Our economic future relies more than ever on our ability to innovate, and reauthorizing the COMPETES Act will help manufacturers prosper in a globally integrated and highly competitive marketplace. [4/20/10]
Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber believes that H.R. 5116 would strengthen U.S. competitiveness by improving America’s scientific and economic leadership, and making stronger investments in science, innovation, research and education. [5/10/10]
Council on Competitiveness
During this time of economic tumult, those countries that look to the future, arming their citizens with the tools to compete in a global economy, will emerge stronger and more prosperous. Three years ago, Democrats and Republicans came together to draft and pass the America COMPETES legislation, putting the world on notice that the United States was committed to maintaining its position as the world’s leader in innovation. That time has come to reassert this commitment and put the country on the path to long term economic growth by reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act and ensuring that investments in science and technology create new jobs and new industries here at home. [4/26/10]
America’s CEOs are committed to accelerating U.S. innovation and boosting the worldwide competitiveness of the United States. They understand that investments in scientific research and math and science education help create the platform for sustained, long-term growth… The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act will provide critical support for the foundations of America’s innovation system….it will strengthen confidence in America’s future, attract more young Americans into technical fields, and expand the employment horizons and earnings potential of millions of new American workers. [4/27/10]
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