On May 7, the Obama administration announced that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is part of the U.S. Commerce Department, approved 16 advanced manufacturing grant proposals totaling $7.8 million. The approvals were announced in Gaithersburg, Maryland, by NIST's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech).

The goal of these grants is, "Incentivizing the formation and strengthening of industry-driven technology consortia in areas of national importance in advanced manufacturing. Activities supported by Planning Awards include detailed technology road maps of critical advanced manufacturing technologies and associated long-term industrial research challenges."

This is the second set of AMTech awards for 2015. This group of awards aids grantees in identifying "critical gaps" in the infrastructure of technology in advanced manufacturing and create industry-driven technology road maps. The grants establish and offer support in developing research tactics and the charting of collaborative activities to solve high-priority issues in advanced manufacturing.

States are also trying to insure they are able to attract and keep advanced manufacturing companies within their borders. Here is a look at three states taking the steps to train workers for manufacturing positions.


Manufacturers, Florida state colleges, regional workforce boards and manufacturers held a hugely successful statewide manufacturing job fair on April 22-23. The job fair provided opportunities for graduates of manufacturing and engineering programs as well as manufacturing professionals. It was open to anyone wanting to attend, and there was no fee for admission.

CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV said, "Advanced manufacturing is an important industry targeted for future growth in Florida."

West Virginia

The drop in oil prices has also had a negative effect on its sister fuel, coal. Coal is a major employer in West Virginia and job growth is currently nearly nonexistent. But Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has an important message for the advanced manufacturing sector.

"Whether you’re expanding in the state or looking to come here, West Virginia is committed to providing the skilled, drug-free, productive workers you need to succeed." Tomblin said at the Governor’s Workforce Summit, held May 5.

"Over the past two years, the West Virginia Workforce Planning Council has operated behind the scenes, but West Virginia has a great story to tell, and it's time we start telling it," Tomblin said. He put the council together in 2013 thinking it would improve the alignment. When appointing the members. Tomblin sought out top state educators and executive branch people.

The actions of the planning council inspired Kay Goodwin, a council member and secretary of the Department of Education and the Arts, which oversees the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Service, to seek unusual solutions for workforce enhancement. Tomblin related the following story at the summit about Goodwin.

"A substance abuse problem is a disability, so we asked, 'Could we get federal funds to help clients with substance abuse problems become productive working citizens?'" he said. "It turns out we could."


The Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) program runs the primary state-provided work training programs. AIDT is an independent agency that is supervised by the State Secretary of Commerce. Their mission is to "provide a quality workforce development for Alabama's new and expanding businesses, and to expand the opportunities of its citizens through the jobs these businesses create."

Alabama created AIDT to respond to the recognition that the state needed to recruit and train a skilled workforce to attract new businesses.

From the federal level to the state and even the local level, government recognizes the importance of better educating and training the youth of the United States. In most instances, the cooperation of advanced manufacturers has been a vital part for keeping the workforce ready for the next level of skills needed.