SAN JUAN, P.R. – LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense national Manufacturing Innovation Institute, the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce of Puerto Rico (DEDC) announced they signed an agreement to launch an institute facility satellite to advanced applied research and development, as well as advanced manufacturing on the island.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at La Fortaleza, bringing the institute to Puerto Rico to engage with the Island’s manufacturers to further develop their technologies and support the Island’s workforce by providing advanced manufacturing training opportunities. As part of the agreement, DEDC has committed to providing $2 million to support LIFT Puerto Rico over the next two years and the institute has committed to $2 million of its own funds. The institute is currently exploring locations for the facility. This agreement follows the announcement earlier this month that the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program, overseen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is committing funding to support the LIFT Puerto Rico satellite.
“Puerto Rico is known for its specialized workforce, and LIFT Puerto Rico brings world-class advanced manufacturing technology development capabilities to Puerto Rico and provides a significant economic asset that will expand competitiveness, manufacturing readiness, economic, and workforce growth”, said Pedro R. Pierluisi, Governor of Puerto Rico.
“It is incumbent upon us as a national manufacturing innovation institute, to support manufacturers and their workforce where they are and where we are able,” said Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT. “We are grateful to both the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce and the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program for their support of this LIFT initiative.”
“The Manufacture sector is nearly half of the gross domestic product of the Island, workforce development is of the essence to support those manufacturing operations and their workforce with the best skills that allow us to compete with the world,” said Manuel Cidre, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce. “This is a vitally important collaboration with LIFT – bringing leadership, manufacturing expertise and its current 300-member ecosystem on the mainland to support the manufacturing base here”.
Puerto Rico has a long history of manufacturing and a diverse manufacturing economy, including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agroecology, aerospace, electronics, computing, engineering and construction, and apparel.
“The DoD institutes were created to move the needle in advanced manufacturing technology and talent across the country in support of the warfighter, and this expansion by LIFT truly meets that mission,” said Tracy Frost, Director, Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program. “The promise of LIFT and its ecosystem combined with Puerto Rico’s robust manufacturing industry and military heritage will lead to success for the Island and the nation.”
LIFT: Technology and Talent Development
Established in Detroit, Michigan in 2014, LIFT is a Department of Defense nonprofit national manufacturing innovation institute whose mission is to Drive American Manufacturing into the Future Through Technology and Talent Development in support of our national economy and national security. LIFT serves as a technology accelerator, working at the intersection of materials science, manufacturing processes, systems engineering and talent development to enhance our national economy and national security. This connection enables the institute, and its more than 300 organization ecosystem to advance technologies – such as hypersonic materials development and lightweight armor systems – into commercial industry and into the hands of the warfighter quickly, all while preparing the workforce for the advanced manufacturing jobs available today and better preparing it for the jobs of the future.
As a public-private partnership, LIFT brings together government, industry, and academia to accelerate the connection between materials, processes, systems, and talent across the U.S. manufacturing base. That national ecosystem includes large OEMs, the top academic and research institutions across the country all the way to small and medium-sized manufacturers and start up organizations, each working in concert to position the United States as the global leader in advanced manufacturing. LIFT is part of the Manufacturing USA network.
LIFT operates two programs to achieve its goal: Leading Innovations For Tomorrow, its technology program, and Learning Innovations For Tomorrow, its talent program. Both programs are led out of LIFT’s Detroit headquarters facility, which operates as both a showcase, showing the “art of the possible” and the future of manufacturing, and a sandbox, in which the institute’s national ecosystem can come to design, test and prototype new materials, processes and systems.
LIFT’S training initiatives also includes Operation Next, an innovative training and credentialing program providing a blended learning curriculum to active-duty soldiers and National Guard and Reserve members, enabling them to earn nationally portable, standards based, industry recognized credentials in high demand manufacturing fields. The program recently completed a successful pilot in Detroit and Pittsburgh where it supported small and medium-sized organizations and workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.