DoD ManTech EWD Lead Initiatives

Leading Manufacturing Talent Development Innovations within Regional Economies Initiative

Nationwide, the advanced manufacturing industrial sector faces dual workforce challenges: 
  1. Addressing a current skills gap in order to fill existing and near-term job openings; and
  2. Developing a workforce pipeline that is equipped with the skills and competencies needed to support future technological advances. 
The Office of the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology (OSD ManTech) Education and Workforce Development (EWD) team works in partnership with Department of Defense Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (DoD MIIs) who have been designing and implementing educational programs for several years to address this challenge.  The institutes, as key drivers of both technology innovation and supportive education and workforce development for the advanced manufacturing industry, lead and develop regional strategies to solve manufacturers’ workforce challenges.  Together, these initiatives are known as “Moving from Programs to Strategies through Career and Technical Education.”

The U.S. education systems are highly decentralized, with investments and policies driven at the state and local level.  Through the "Moving from Programs to Strategies" initiative, the institutes convene stakeholders within regional economies including, but not limited to, manufacturers, regional economic and workforce boards, local government and school systems, and universities, community colleges and technical schools. 

The focus of these regional initiatives is to first understand current and upcoming skills needs of local manufacturing employers and then form effective learning pathways that meet these localized workforce needs.  The goal of this initiative is 1) to drive localized economic value through talent development and 2) to create opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds to pursue fulfilling and prosperous careers.

This initiative begins with select regions to build and refine a framework and toolset for regional action.  This framework and toolset include the program’s vision, approach, and processes necessary to build both a regional-based workforce educated and skilled in the technologies demanded by the local manufacturing sector, as well as an approach that can be scaled and guide implementation in other regions across the Nation.

Building a Collaboration Network to Strengthen the Defense Industrial Base Initiative

The U.S. manufacturing and defense industrial base supports economic prosperity and global competitiveness and arms the U.S. military with capabilities to defend the Nation.  The industrial base currently faces an unprecedented set of challenges, perhaps most notably a domestic workforce that lacks advanced manufacturing skills.  Our Nation must systematically address these issues, requiring a new strategy of collaboration across multiple organizations and stakeholder groups.  Many of these groups have been individually pursuing important but disconnected strategies.  The challenge facing the Nation is a complex "system of systems" challenge that requires collaborating to develop and execute shared strategies to affect greater impact on an accelerated timetable.  These organizations include three networks:
  • DoD MIIs and Manufacturing USA;
  • DoD’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (formerly known as the “Office of Economic Adjustment”), Defense Industry Adjustment Program’s Learning Community Exchange; and
  • The American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative (formerly known as the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration) now operating as a private sector collaborative.
This initiative will align the efforts of these three networks, and potentially others, is to collaboratively address the need for an educated and skilled American workforce capable of employing cutting-edge industrial technology at scale to revitalize the domestic manufacturing industry.

The overarching goal of this collaborative initiative is to create a larger, louder, and more influential voice to help drive policy, investments, and practice to address the skills gap in advanced manufacturing.  This can only be achieved by taking a systems-of-systems view toward building an educated and skilled manufacturing workforce, strengthening and supporting the manufacturing and defense-connected communities, and increasing supply chain resiliency – all shared goals of the three national networks.