The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM; Blairsville, PA.), in partnership with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME; Southfield, MI) and Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA; Indianapolis), were awarded one of four grants from the Department of Defense (DoD), sponsored by the Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research under ONR award N00014-18-1-2881, in support of the Manufacturing Engineering Education Program (MEEP).
The goal of MEEP is to establish programs to better position the current and next-generation manufacturing workforce to produce military systems and components that assure technological superiority for the DoD.
“On behalf of all of us at NCDMM, SME, and TPMA, we are eager to get this project underway and help resolve the workforce and education issues that are impacting our national defense readiness,” said Ralph Resnick, NCDMM president and chief executive officer. “We will be leveraging our manufacturing expertise, our broad knowledge of advanced manufacturing, and our trusted network of partners to solve the workforce training challenges currently facing the defense manufacturing supply chain. Only with a trained and skilled workforce can a strong domestic industrial base exist to meet critical defense needs.”
Added Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, director, Laboratories Office in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering): “Historically, the nation’s manufacturing base has allowed the United States to build the most complex and capable weapons systems in the world, allowing the military to meet the full spectrum of missions. Nurturing and growing the manufacturing capacity in the United States through MEEP will allow [it] to maintain its technological advantage and ignite the next generation of manufacturing talent.”
NCDMM, SME, and TPMA will develop and launch a series of new virtual courses, inclusive of additive manufacturing (AM) and related technologies, to broaden and extend the scope of SME’s long-standing certificate programs. Additionally, NCDMM and SME also will rely on the expertise of America Makes (Youngstown, OH) and Tooling U-SME (Cleveland).
“America Makes acutely understands the importance of systematically and efficiently maturing additive manufacturing technologies for the adoption throughout the DoD supply chain,” said America Makes Executive Director Rob Gorham. “Additive manufacturing is integral to the future readiness of the DoD.”
America Makes, which is managed by the NCDMM, is the national accelerator for AM and a collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation.
A division of SME, Tooling U-SME is a provider of manufacturing training solutions. It delivers versatile, competency-based learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community, working with thousands of companies including more than half of all Fortune 500 manufacturing companies, as well as 600 educational institutions across the country.
“It’s a really exciting time for the additive manufacturing industry,” said Josh Cramer, America Makes education and workforce director. “The innovations are driving additive to new levels. Without a skilled workforce, however, we cannot fully leverage these innovations and breakthroughs. America Makes, together with our partners TPMA, SME, and Tooling U-SME, is committed to addressing the workforce skills gaps in education and training that are hindering additive’s fuller adoption. We need to ensure a skilled workforce is in place to support the DoD’s ongoing and future use of additive technologies.”
In addition to NCDMM and its partners, the other three grant awardees include Battelle Education, Clemson University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The awarded organizations and universities will receive a total of $5.78 million over a three-year period to enhance or establish educational programs that support manufacturing engineering education.