Oregon Congressional Delegation, Governor Celebrate $3M Grant for Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center
The Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC) will receive a $3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to support a transformative economic development project in Northwest Oregon.
In a release a spokesperson for Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said that the Democrat had been lobbying for the grant for some time.
OMIC is a partnership of industry leaders in advanced manufacturing and higher education institutions, based on the model of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Great Britain.
OMIC will be a co-located Research and Development (R&D) Center and Training Center in Columbia County. It will augment Greater Portland's metals, machinery and manufacturing industry and train the next advanced manufacturing workforce. It will have an R&D Center and Training Center run by Portland Community College.
The partnership includes Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland Community College, Oregon State University, and Portland State University.
The goal is to "create good jobs, foster innovation in manufacturing, and equip workers and students for success in the 21st century by providing work-based learning programs," said the release.
The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) to the Oregon Institute of Technology. The funding will be used to retrofit and equip OMIC's R&D facility.
"This is great news for Oregon," said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. "I am thrilled to see that the Economic Development Administration recognizes the potential of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center. OMIC will help students and workers learn the skills they need to work in today's economy, where advanced manufacturing is increasingly technical, while also advancing research and development that helps industries compete and thrive. I've been proud to advocate for federal funding for this innovative and collaborative project, and I look forward to its continued growth."
All seven members of Oregon's Congressional delegation – Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, Rep. Peter DeFazio, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Greg Walden, and Rep. Kurt Schrader – joined Governor Kate Brown to praise the grant.
"I am glad the 'Oregon Way' approach of working together to find solutions has produced this great news that will help economic development and education in rural Oregon," said Senator Ron Wyden. "These kinds of partnerships can unlock the huge potential of young Oregonians and serve as a model for the rest of the country."
"If we don't make things in America, we won't have a middle class in America," said Senator Jeff Merkley. "I'm proud that Oregon is showing the way forward with partnerships that help our students and businesses alike to prepare for the future and to lead the way in innovation. This grant is huge news for Oregon and a testament to the great work that is happening in our state."
"This grant is a boon for Oregon's next generation of innovators," said Rep. Peter DeFazio. "We must continue to invest in our growing advanced manufacturing industry, which will provide high skilled, high-paying jobs for Oregon students and workers and help equip young people for success in the 21st century workplace."
"OMIC's Research and Development Center will help prepare Oregon for the economy of tomorrow," said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. "Developing public-private partnerships in advanced manufacturing will help create good jobs and strengthen Oregon's economy."
"Education programs that foster public-private partnerships are so important to the future of our Oregon economy," said Rep. Kurt Schrader. "These programs align their curricula with the needs of their communities and industry, helping students gain the skills required to succeed in today's job market and to support our economy. This grant for the OMIC will further solidify their role in building partnerships between industry leaders and higher education institutions to develop these innovative learning programs."
"This investment is a big win for Oregon workers, helping them get the skills they need to land a better job," Governor Kate Brown said. "We're looking towards the future to support strong economies throughout the state, and training centers like these will help give our workforce the skills local businesses need to grow and thrive."
All seven members of Oregon's delegation made a joint request for the funding to Sec. Wilbur Ross in January. Bonamici also sent a letter of support for the grant directly to EDA in November.