The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded its first nine prototyping projects to bolster the industrial workforce sector.
The projects, valued at nearly $27 million, are in conjunction with the National Imperative for Industrial Skills initiative, also known as the Skills Imperative.
” A skilled workforce has been the bedrock of our economic security and when needed our national security,” Jeffrey “Jeb” Nadaner, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy, said. “The next arsenal of democracy will be built by American hands and creative minds. Thousands of manufacturing jobs in our defense industrial base await Americans seeking careers with purpose and fulfillment. Whether building automobiles, aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines, the Skills Imperative invites industry allies to rally alongside the department and help Americans develop the necessary skills to be part of these production efforts.”
The DOD’s industrial policy office previously issued a standing, five-year request to academia and industry for innovative prototyping proposals addressing selected key segments of the industrial skills workforce development ecosystem, officials said, noting the initial awards have been earmarked for endeavors in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.
Adele Ratcliff, Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program office director, said she is confident the effort would enable greater stakeholder cooperation across the industrial base and encourage more partners to come forward to join the effort to drive sufficient scale and velocity into industrial workforce development pipelines.