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New Bill Promotes Manufacturing Workforce Training

New Bill Promotes Manufacturing Workforce Training

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) recently introduced H.R. 4877, the Retain Innovation and Manufacturing Excellence (RIME) Act of 2019. The bill aims to allow State Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers to award grants to small- and medium-sized manufacturers for the purpose of training new workers to replace departing experienced workers. The House bill is a companion to legislation previously introduced by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and James Inhofe (R-OK), S. 856. The two bills are identical in text and have each been referred to the Science Committees in their respective chambers.

The RIME Act would authorize the Department of Commerce to create a pilot program through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that would allow MEP Centers to award grants to manufactures in order to ensure an adequately trained manufacturing workforce. Under the program, MEP Centers would award grants to eligible manufacturers to retain retiring employees for up to 90 days for the purpose of transferring job-specific skills and training to existing or new employees. The bill requires a non-Federal cost share of at least 50% of the award.

Awards can be made from $50-$500K. Preference will be given to manufacturing firms from industry sectors that are most in need of assistance as determined by the local MEP, and manufacturing firms that have a previous relationship with the MEP Center. The bill authorizes up to $10M to carry out the pilot program.

ASME will continue to monitor this legislation as well as all manufacturing workforce development efforts.

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