Building a Nation of Makers: Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovative Capacity of Manufacturing Small and Medium Enterprises, or SMEs

Michael Reader

In their Executive Summary, the members of the Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing proposes the following actionable ideas to accelerate the pace of America’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers:

  • Talent Investment Loans to Expand Human Capital
  • Upside-Down Degrees to Connect Classroom Learning with On-the-Job Learning
  • A Skills Census to Build a More Efficient Skilled Labor Force
  • A National Supply Chain Initiative to Fully Map America’s Manufacturing Ecosystems
  • Up-Skilling High School Students with Expanded Technology an Engineering Certification Programs
  • A “Big Trends-Small Firms” initiative to Diffuse the Latest Technologies to Manufacturing SMEs

–Find a detailed explanation of these ideas can be put into action at the end of this post

“By almost any measure, the American Dream is in peril, and it has been for some time…” With these opening remarks, Gerald Baliles, Director and CEO of the Miller Center of the University of Virginia and former governor of the State, began a news conference at the National Press Club on June 13, 2014 to release a report by the Miller Center’s Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century.

This was the first commission of a multi-year initiative by the Milstein Symposium whose goal is “To find and implement practical nonpartisan solutions to pressing economic concerns in the areas that include manufacturing, entrepreneurship, education, and infrastructure.” Its laser-focused vision is “To determine the next steps our nation must take to continue to vitality of the American Dream in the 21st century, and most importantly, to find the way to put those steps into place.”

Twelve eminent thought leaders convened to draft six practical, nonpartisan and actionable ideas to foster the growth of manufacturing SMEs.

Howard Milstein, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, remarked that with “changes in technology, logistics and global economic conditions,” the U.S. can experience a manufacturing renaissance. However, as a nation, we have to have “the fortitude to make the right decisions now” for it to happen.

Here are the six ideas that were proposed by the members of the Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing aimed to accelerate the pace of innovation for America’s small- and medium-sized manufacturers, as they appeared on their Executive Summary:

Click to see a larger image.


75 Gears on Mars – Mission Accomplished

Michael Reader

Back in 1955, when Stetler and Evelyn Young founded Forest City Gear in Roscoe, Illinois, they had a vision to create a leading gear manufacturing company, which would be well-respected throughout the world.  They did accomplish their dream and much more…but they certainly did not consider that 50-some years later, their gears would end up on Mars.

Our Curiosity, courtesy of  Our City, Our Story on Vimeo.

Curiosity, the latest of NASA’s Mars rovers, landed on the “red planet” on August 5, 2012 after an 8-month, 354 million-mile journey.  Forest City Gear can proclaim that a total of 75 of their gears are on Mars, split between Curiosity and an earlier Mars rover.

With over 50 years in the industry, this family-owned business has striven to be a model company, not only for the industry and their customers, but also for their employees.  The Youngs’ son Fred is now the CEO.

Precision Plus salutes Forest City Gear on their accomplishments and is proud to have them among our fine customers.