Commerce pledges $4.5 million for technology at Midwest manufacturers

The Commerce Department announced $4.5 million in grant funding on Wednesday aimed at helping small and medium-sized manufacturers in the Midwest adapt to 21st century technologies.

“Through this investment, the administration is joining with the private sector in recognizing the importance of modeling and simulation to the competitiveness of our small businesses and the health of our manufacturing base," said Deborah Wince-Smith, CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, which was awarded the grant.

The Council is a nonpartisan group of CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders that work to advance economic prosperity. The group will use the money to develop software, purchase time on supercomputers, and train Midwestern manufacturers on how to design their own advanced products.

$2 million of the funding will come from the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration; the other $2.5 million matching investment will come from groups including Purdue University, General Electric, John Deere, Lockheed Martin, Procter & Gamble and the State of Ohio.

The project will be closely coordinated with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers of the firms involved in order to ensure the new technology will benefit both OEMs and their supply-chain partners in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.