WASHINGTON—Spurring innovation and entrepreneurship in ways that encourage the growth of advanced manufacturing industries is critical to a state’s economic development. To assist states in developing and implementing successful economic development strategies, the National Governors Association (NGA) today announced seven states – Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania – selected to participate in the Policy Academy on “Making” our Future:  Encouraging Growth Opportunities in Manufacturing through Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Investment. 

Innovation represents the best way for the United States to compete for new economic activity and job creation, both by using technology to dramatically boost productivity, process improvements and quality, and by developing the next generation of innovative manufactured products. For American manufacturing, the future increasingly lies in rapidly changing fields such as energy, medical devices, gene therapy, transportation and aerospace, and is based on advances in nanotechnologies, biotechnologies and information technologies. Moreover, there are many research areas with the potential to create a new era of manufacturing, including:  research on robotics; advanced materials and materials processing; and nano-engineering, that allows firms to better manipulate matter at the smallest scales in order to produce everything from new industrial materials to cutting-edge medicine.

“The Policy Academy will give participating states a deeper understanding of their state’s manufacturing-related industries and fast-growing industry clusters by helping to evaluate and address the major policy and implementation challenges and opportunities in their state for world-class manufacturing and future success in the global economy,” said Mary Jo Waits, director of the NGA Center for Best Practice’s Economic, Human Services & Workforce Division. “This Academy is designed to meet the unique needs of participating states. It recognizes that states are deeply engaged with strategies to recover from the current economic slowdown.”

The Academy will also help each state develop a plan, or overcome barriers to putting a plan into action, that would improve the general environment for innovation and align state research and development  investments, workforce development and education systems with the current and future needs of the state’s advanced manufacturing industries. Funding for the Academy is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP) and the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA).

A Policy Academy is a highly interactive, team-based process for helping a select number of states develop and implement an action plan to address a complex public policy issue. Participating states receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA staff, experts from MEP, EDA and State Science and Technology Institute, as well as consultants from the private sector, research organizations and academia. The strategies and policies developed by the selected states are intended to serve as ideas and best practices for all states.

The first Policy Academy meeting will take place on October 6 and 7. For more information, please visit www.nga.org/cms/center/ehsw.

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Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, go to www.nga.org.