ASME Congressional Briefing Highlights the DOD’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program


Aug. 11, 2017


(Left to right) Congressional Briefing panelists Denise Peppard of Northrop Grumman Corp., Stephan Ezell from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Laine Mears of Clemson University, Laurie Leshin of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Brennan Grignon from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy.

On July 25, more than 120 Congressional staff and industry stakeholders convened at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., for an ASME-sponsored Congressional Briefing focusing on the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program. The panel discussion, which was hosted by the House and Senate Manufacturing Caucuses, featured a group of subject matter experts who discussed how the grant program will help strengthen the U.S. economy and national security, while safeguarding the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

ASME President-Nominee Said Jahanmir, Ph.D., Senior Legislative Fellow in the Office of Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), provided welcoming remarks for the briefing, which was moderated by Thomas Kurfess, Ph.D., professor and HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control at Georgia Institute of Technology and co-chair of the ASME Manufacturing Public Policy Task Force. Panelists included Brennan Grignon, program director in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, Department of Defense; Laurie Leshin, Ph.D., president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Laine Mears, Ph.D., professor and BMW SmartState Chair of Automotive Manufacturing at Clemson University; Stephen Ezell, director of global innovation policy for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF); and Denise Peppard, corporate vice president and chief human resources officer at Northrop Grumman Corp.


ASME President-Nominee Said Jahanmir (far right) welcomed attendees to the ASME Congressional Briefing panel discussion. Also pictured are (left to right) panelists Laurie Leshin and Brennan Grignon and moderator Thomas Kurfess, co-chair of the ASME Manufacturing Public Policy Task Force.

The Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program was signed into law in December 2016 as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), thereby authorizing the Department of Defense to support industry-relevant, manufacturing-focused, engineering training at U.S. institutions of higher education, universities, industry, and not-for-profit institutions. Grant recipients are selected through a competitive process based on the merits of better aligning their educational offerings with the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers.

The new program has great potential to strengthen national security and increase economic competitiveness by improving and modernizing the U.S. industrial base. Through this program, students, technologists, and manufactures will be better equipped to manufacture U.S. military equipment and technology domestically, protecting and securing the future of the American Warfighter. The Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program is intended to not only strengthen the U.S. military’s capabilities, but also allow the United States to compete against other nations economically.


More than 120 Congressional staff and industry stakeholders attended the Congressional Briefing, which was held on July 25 in Washington, D.C.


In the area of advanced manufacturing, the United States is currently competing commercially against a range of European and Asian nations for global innovation advantage. Countries such as Germany and Austria, who dedicate a larger percentage of their economy to manufacturing (23 percent and 19 percent, respectively) than the United States (12 percent), are pursuing several workforce development initiatives that call for revamping engineering curriculum and workforce training opportunities to align manufacturing and engineering education more closely with the current and future needs of industry.

A video recording of the Congressional Briefing is now available on the House Manufacturing Caucus’ YouTube page at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuuW1U_7xwA. To learn more about the House Manufacturing Caucus, visit http://housemanufacturingcaucus-reed.house.gov/115th-congress-events.

- Samantha Fijacko, ASME Government Relations