MASCOUTAH – MidAmerica Airport was the meeting place for key stakeholders in manufacturing Wednesday, brought together by U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart (D-Illinois).
“Today’s summit was an overwhelmingly productive collaboration across the board,” Enyart said. “I wanted to bring these key players together in a format to ultimately produce real results and tangible progress in Southern Illinois’ manufacturing sector. And we did just that.”
The Manufacturing and Economic Development Summit was hosted by Enyart, which brought together leaders from Southern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, Southwestern Illinois College, Southwestern Illinois Leadership Council, Boeing, and elected officials including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
“The Digital Lab has the potential to revolutionize the way the United States approaches manufacturing. And that next generation of manufacturing will be based in Illinois,” Durbin said. “Partners from across the state in business and education will be at the forefront of innovative, industry-driven research that will make America more competitive on the global stage. I fought to bring the Lab to Illinois and I look forward to the jobs and economic growth it will generate throughout the entire state. I thank Congressman Enyart for convening today’s manufacturing summit and fostering the collaboration needed to grow manufacturing in Southern Illinois and the Metro East area.”
The summit was designed to begin collaborative discussions and action from key stakeholders in Southern Illinois’ manufacturing sector. Leaders participated in a networking welcome session and Boeing facility tour in the morning. During a working lunch, two discussion groups convened to discuss opportunities for collaboration amongst universities, government, private companies and the public sector. Enyart facilitated the discussions and focused on tangible, deliverable benefits to Southern Illinois.
“During the discussion groups’ session, we discussed the various ways each entity will work together in the days and weeks to come, in order to better serve Southern Illinois’ economy,” Enyart said. “All the while, the individuals from today’s summit will return home with tangible plans in place to continue the widespread work of the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.”
“The University of Illinois thanks Representative Enyart for his leadership in convening today’s economic strategy summit,” University of Illinois President Robert Easter said. “We are also grateful to Senator Durbin for his tireless efforts to advance the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute — an important victory for our entire state that would not have been possible without him. Revitalizing Illinois’ economy is a priority for the university and one of our core missions. We stand ready to collaborate with industry, government, and academic institutions throughout Southern Illinois to help drive progress and economic growth for the region.”
“Bringing jobs to Illinois is made so much easier when entities like labor, business, government and higher education work together to make opportunities for employment a reality. When we have collaboration between these groups to grow communities by increasing manufacturing, we make a real difference in our state economy. On behalf of the Southern Illinois University System, I want to thank Congressman Enyart for including higher education as a key instrument in making manufacturing job creation the priority it needs to be,” SIU President Randy Dunn said.
“The institute intends to help revolutionize American manufacturing by streamlining the ways in which vital data is communicated between all participants in the production process, and by all members of the supply chain,” said Jacob Goodwin, director of Membership Engagement and Communications at DMDII. “By bringing products to market more quickly and less expensively, we expect that the Illinois manufacturers that embrace these advances in digital manufacturing — as well as manufacturers across the nation — will be able to regain the supremacy that the U.S. enjoyed in manufacturing for so many decades.”
“SWIC is proud to be a part of this important discussion. Our commitment to technical education and building a highly skilled regional workforce is evidenced by the recent addition of an Advanced Manufacturing Training facility within the Industrial Technology Center at our Sam Wolf Granite City Campus. This was funded by two rounds of federal Trade Adjustment Assistance grants,” SWIC President Georgia Costello said. “We have also joined the Get Skills to Work program to help veterans train for new careers in manufacturing; and our students annually bring home medals from the national SkillsUSA competition. Simply put, SWIC has one of the most well-equipped and modern manufacturing training facilities in the country, and we’re putting it to work.”
“Southwestern Illinois has tremendous multi-modal infrastructure, and the heritage, culture and workforce that supports manufacturing job growth,” Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois Executive Director Ellen Krohne said. “The Leadership Council works to unite the region for economic growth and we appreciate that the summit today advanced those efforts with our partners in the region.”
The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute was developed from the Department of Defense’s $70 million award to Chicago-based UI Labs. The institute has received pledges for an additional $250 million from industry, academia, government and community partners — totaling the investment in the institute to $320 million.
Working with the key stakeholders listed above, the institute works across Southern Illinois in focus areas of intelligent electro-mechanical design and manufacturing including: advanced manufacturing enterprise, intelligent machines, advanced analysis, and cyber physical systems security.